Rory McIlroy wanted just one thing after his Masters meltdown 12 months ago - a hug from a TV interviewer.
The Holywood star was devastated to shoot a final round 80 and blow a four shot lead after dreaming of become the first Irishman to don the green jacket.
Six dropped shots from the 10th to the 12th ended his dream before he hooked his drive into Rae’s Creek at the 13th and buried his head in his arm.
Coming off the 18th, he was met by CBS golf analyst Peter Kostis, who revealed how the young Ulsterman brilliantly handled his crushing defeat.
Kostis recalled: “I was assigned Rory’s interview at the very last minute.
“Augusta is unique because I never get to interview the winner. I only get the guys who come close because only the winner goes to the Butler Cabin for the awards ceremony.
“I have had everybody who has come close and believe me it always pretty difficult, both for me and the player.
“I gave Rory the option. I said: ‘Rory I have been asked to interview you. Obviously I would understand if you were decline.’
“I told him I wouldn’t throw him under the bus. I know him reasonably well and I think he knew it isn’t our job to ask him aggressive questions right at the moment in time.
“All he said was ‘Right now all I need is a hug. Give me hug and we will do the interview.’ So I gave him a hug and we did the interview.”
McIlroy’s graceful handling of his defeat was one of the highlights of the week and a major contrast to the way Tiger Woods had reacted to finishing fourth on his comeback the previous year.
Kostis said: “The year before, I tried to give Tiger open ended questions that would allow him to say whatever he wanted to say.
“How do you feel about the week overall. I am giving him a chance to say, ‘You know what I was rusty but the fans were great, the tournament was great.’ He elected not to do that.
“No-one enjoys doing those interviews. Having said that Rory’s ability to man up and answer the questions openly and honestly and in a heartfelt way made it much more palatable experience.
“I think he handled it magnificently. I don’t think he could have handled it any better.”
McIlroy’s putting let him down that Sunday but he took steps to fix it and won the US Open by a record margin just 70 days later.
Kostis said: “The back nine was a shock for him but from my perspective watching the whole thing, Rory’s weaknesses as a player were exposed on that Sunday.
“By that I mainly mean his putting. He needed it to save him on those first two or three holes in order for him to calm down.
“He felt more pressure on the full swing becasue of his putting mistakes. That was genisis of the whole debacle. The thing I love about Rory is that he is a quick learner.
“He never seems to make the same mistake twice. He fixed his putting after what happened that day and went on to win the US Open.”