Rory McIlroy insists gap not ‘insurmountable’ after slow start to Masters

Rory McIlroy insists gap not ‘insurmountable’ after slow start to Masters

Rory McIlroy insisted he was not left facing an “insurmountable” challenge after a frustrating opening round of the 87th Masters.

McIlroy made history as he gave what is believed to be the first in-play interview at Augusta National as he played the ninth hole,  but could only produce a level-par 72 to lie seven shots off the lead.

“I’m probably two or three shots behind how I’d like to be, considering how I played,” McIlroy said.

“I think, if I had gotten the most out of my round, I would have shot 68 or 69. So (I’m) a few shots back, but nothing that’s not insurmountable.

“I think I can go out there and give myself plenty of chances and play a great round of golf tomorrow and get myself back on that big white scoreboard.”

Asked about the interview with ESPN during his round, McIlroy said: “The club reached out to us last week and just inquired if I would be interested in doing it. I did it a couple weeks ago at the Match Play.

“It definitely feels a little less intrusive with the earpiece rather than someone right up next to you with the microphone like they’ve been doing in Europe for a couple of years.

“I thought it would be a cool thing to do. I did it in Austin and didn’t feel like it took me out of my rhythm in any way or made me think about things too much.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy lines up a putt on the 10th hole during the first round of the Masters (Matt Slocum/AP)

“So it’s nice to provide the audience at home a little bit more insight into what’s going on out here.

“I think with the previous chairman, he definitely brought things forward. Then I think since chairman Ridley has come along, he’s really tried to push the envelope as well.

“So I think Augusta have a great balance of blending that history and that tradition but also making sure we’re keeping up with the times, I guess.”