McGinley: "Rory has unfinished business at Augusta"

Ryder Cup skipper Paul McGinley is backing Rory McIlroy to end Europe’s long Masters drought and take care of "unfinished business" at Augusta National.

The Dubliner reckons everyone in Irish golf should take huge pride in the Holywood hotshot and believes he will avenge his 2011 meltdown and become the first Irish golfer to don the champion's green jacket.

Dismissing any Masters demons for McIlroy, McGinley said: "Does Rory have scar tissue from 2011? I wouldn’t look at it that way.

"I think Rory has unfinished business around here. He knows that and it’s a motivating thing for him.

"It’s a positive for him rather than a negative. He was able to bounce back and win his next major championship — that shows you there is no scar tissue.

"He put in a Rolls Royce performance a few months later at Congressional and won the US Open so I don’t think what happened in 2011 is an issue and like everybody, I’m wishing Rory well.

"He has proved that he can play well around here. He played better than anyone for three and a half rounds in 2011, so it suits him.

"He’s obviously found his game again and he’s playing well. Fingers crossed. He needs to get off to a good start. That’s key for Rory."

McGinley is less confident that Graeme McDowell can overcome his lack of length at Augusta unless the weather turns horrific and takes the par-fives out of reach for everyone. 

Still confident a European can win for the first time since 1999, McGinley said: "I’m a believer in horses for courses and it’s no coincidence that Graeme does well in the US Open and struggles around Augusta.

"Augusta is not the same test, not the same examination paper you get at the US Open. He has proven that he has the mental fortitude to play at this level, there is no question.

"But there is a big question about the golf course. Is it suited to him? As much as Zach Johnson and Trevor Immelman won, they did it in poor, cold, windy conditions when guys weren’t going for the par fives.

"They were going with long irons and woods and hitting it in the water. I just don’t think the course suits Graeme.

"There is a big advantage going into these greens with an eight iron compared to going in with a six iron and Graeme will be facing that on a number of holes.

"Of course he can still win and he could get around but the odds are not really in his favour.

"I’m a little surprised a European hasn’t won the Masters since 1999 but I think it’s only a matter of time.

"The Europeans are playing well and a lot of our players have big game snow and they can play Augusta.

"We are winning every other major so there is no reason why they can’t be winning the Masters and Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia are two players who are in great form."

Gary Player reckons that McIlroy is only just behind Tiger Woods in terms of ability but while McGinley stops short of backing Padraig Harrington’s belief that he can challenge Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major wins, he’s expecting big things.

McGinley said: "Speak to anybody in the game - caddies, TV people, journalists, fellow pros — they will all tell you that Rory is as good as he is made out to be. That’s not a coincidence.

"Of course he has the ability to win many, many majors. But we don’t know what’s going to happen.

"I don’t want to say he’s going to do this or that and I am reluctant to pile that pressure on him.

"But it is no coincidence that anybody who is involved in the inner circle of golf has the same opinion about Rory.

"He’s Irish and we should be proud of him and it all goes back to the great work the GUI did and they investment they made in him thanks to the financial contribution everyone makes to the GUI.

"Everyone in Ireland should be proud of Rory because they all contributed to his success in some way."