Player tips McIlroy to outwit the "big mouse trap" of Augusta National

Player tips McIlroy to outwit the "big mouse trap" of Augusta National
 Gary Player, a three-time Masters champion, believes Rory McIlroy will be the first player from the new generation of young guns to complete the career grand slam. Picture © Brian Keogh

Gary Player, a three-time Masters champion, believes Rory McIlroy will be the first player from the new generation of young guns to complete the career grand slam. Picture © Brian Keogh

Gary Player is convinced that Rory McIlroy will escape the Augusta National “mouse trap” and emerge as the big cheese on Sunday.

The South African legend, 79, is tipping McIlroy to take a massive step towards becoming just the seventh member of the Grand Slam club if he can avoid risk taking at Augusta.

He said: “This is a big mouse trap with a piece of cheese, you nibble there at the wrong time and it has got you.

“Everybody has experiences like Rory had in 2011 and he went and showed after that he could go on and win a major. He wasn’t perturbed at all.

“He’s not too young to become Masters champion. Tiger Woods won it at 21 — without question that the most talented man that ever played  golf — and Rory McIlroy is not far behind him.

"There is no question that the most talented man that ever played  golf, and whether he is recognised as the best ever golfer is debatable, is Tiger Woods. And Rory McIlroy is not far behind.

“Rory is my pick this week and my choice as the next player to complete the career Grand Slam.

“Phil Mickelson can do it at the US Open this year but of the young guys, Rory is my choice - he already has two legs!”

 George O'Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, presents Darren Clarke with an engraved Thomas Lyte ice-bucket to mark his 500th European Tour appearance at this week's Masters Tournament. ©Gettyimages

George O'Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, presents Darren Clarke with an engraved Thomas Lyte ice-bucket to mark his 500th European Tour appearance at this week's Masters Tournament. ©Gettyimages

500 up for Clarke

Darren Clarke is making his 500th European Tour appearance today but he remembers his first win as if it were yesterday.

The Dungannon man held off Masters winners Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Seve Ballesteros win to win the 1993 Alfred Dunhill Open in Belgium.

Remembering Seve’s gamesmanship, he laughed: “I played with Seve in the last round and he was coughing and spluttering and he didn’t even have a cold. But that was Seve, what a man!”

G-Mac swears by routine

Graeme McDowell has vowed to stick to his backwards Masters routine this week hoping to reverse his Augusta fortunes.

G-Mac said: “I do a little gym routine in the morning just to get the blood flowing. See my trainer for a few checks and get my nutrition on board.

“I’m on the putting green about an hour and 15 before my tee time. I do it in reverse — I putt, I chip, I go and hit balls and then I go to the tee.”

He also admits he's superstitious and will be using his 'lucky' Manchester United ball marker.

Lumpy goes for a Guinness

Masters absentee Tim Herron used twitter to poke fun at the “scripting” tweets sent out by the top players.

As stars like Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter tweeted pictures of their outfits for every round, Herron put up a picture of what he’ll be wearing on his couch - a baggy tracksuit on Thursday, a purple dressing gown on Friday and jeans and a sweatshirt on Saturday.

Nicknamed Lumpy because he hates the gym, Herron’s Sunday outfit is a Guinness tank top, shorts and his lucky flip flops.