November Masters has 'pros and cons' for Rory McIlroy, says Padraig Harrington

By Sports Desk April 15, 2020

A November Masters brings "pros and cons" for Rory McIlroy in his bid to finally win a green jacket, according to Padraig Harrington.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the PGA and European Tours to a halt and meant the Masters, traditionally golf's curtain-raiser in major season, could not take place over Easter weekend.

Instead, Augusta National is slated to play host in November and McIlroy – who has five top-10 finishes at the Masters and led by four shots heading into the final round in 2011 before a final-day implosion – said this week he believes a change in the schedule could play to his favour.

"I always feel there's this bit of anticipation going into Augusta, the first big event of the year. There's all this hype. I don't think it will feel like that this year, it will feel different but it's something I'm looking forward to," McIlroy told Michelle Wie on an Instagram Live with Nike Golf.

"It's going to be a different Masters this year but personally, maybe selfishly, that's what I need to get the jacket."

Since missing the cut at his home Open at Royal Portrush last July, McIlroy has recorded an outstanding 12 top-10 finishes from 14 tournaments, including wins at the Tour Championship and WGC-HSBC Champions.

That form saw him return to the summit of the world rankings and Harrington feels that while some of the pressure that always greets McIlroy at Augusta may be reduced by the rescheduling, the halt to his momentum and renewed focus from golf-starved rivals could count against him.

"Yeah, it's possible [a November Masters might benefit McIlroy]," Harrington told Stats Perform. 

"There're pros and cons. He was in tremendous form right now so I'm sure he'd like to go out and play, he was in great form. 

"Like any player you believe the form will stay with you, with Rory it's more than likely. 

"Yes, it would take some of the stress away - it's the last major. There are positive and negatives to it. 

"I think a lot of people will have good attitudes on the golf course by the time it comes to November, they'll be delighted to be out playing golf. 

"His competition could be stronger basically. They won't have overplayed, they'll be fresh, they'll be wanting to be out there, mentally they'll be positive, any opportunity to play golf is a good thing. 

"While Rory might be stronger, I think other people might be stronger too. You'll see some good golf played when we're back out on the golf course because the mental side is such a big thing to it, players will be so relieved to be back out."

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