Rory: "I’d have walked down the aisle in green jacket"

Rory: "I’d have walked down the aisle in green jacket"
Rory McIlroy with his fiancee Erica Stoll

Rory McIlroy with his fiancee Erica Stoll

Rory McIlroy settled for another bridesmaid's role in the Masters and confessed he dreamt of wearing the green jacket down the aisle for his wedding later this month.

The world No 2 needed a final round miracle to close a six-shot gap on Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose — a 63 would have forced a three-way playoff.

But after a final round 69 gave him his fourth successive top 10 at Augusta, a tie for seventh on three under par, he insisted that he feels comfortable now and it may be "only a matter of time" before he completes the career Grand Slam.

Set to marry fiancée Erica Stoll in Mayo in a fortnight, McIlroy grinned: "It would have been nice to walk down the aisle in a green jacket. I'd seriously have done it .... if the members and the chairman Mr Payne had given me the go ahead."

As for his latest Masters disappointment, McIlroy said he felt he was before more comfortable every time he comes back.

Pleased to avoid the ups and downs of previous years, he said: "It wasn't quite as adventurous as previous Masters.

"I didn't have any high nine-hole scores that were in the 40s. It was quite a consistent, steady Masters. It just wasn't quite good enough. 

"I felt like I had an opportunity yesterday to shoot something in the 60s that would have got me closer to the lead today and I didn't quite do that. It was a case of what could have been.

"I feel like I gave a decent account of myself and I will come back next year and try again. 

"I am getting more comfortable here and while Top 10s aren't good enough, it is going in the right direction. 

"Every time I come back here I feel like I have a chance to win so hopefully next year it is tenth time lucky."

McIlroy battled to rounds of 72 and 73 in high winds on Thursday and Friday but  admitted that his 71 on moving day wasn't good enough.

Pleased to make four birdies and just one bogey in comfortable 69 last night, he said: "Coming off the golf course yesterday I was frustrated. But today, I am encouraged again by just how I felt around the place this week. 

"I felt comfortable. I prepared really well, came up a couple of times and really enjoyed my time here. I feel that served me well and it's something I will probably adopt for the future."

As for his tally of five three-putts — he three-putted the fourth for his only bogey yesterday — he said: "I felt as comfortable on the greens here as I ever have.

"Even though I had a couple of three-putts or whatever, I holed some good ones and holed some good ones for pars when I needed to. 

"I didn't convert the chances I needed to yesterday, but every time I come back here I am more and more comfortable. 

"I don’t think it was a lack of competitive rounds. It’s another major and another missed opportunity, and I will move on now and focus on the US open and try to add to my tally there."

After blowing a four-shot lead in 2011, McIlroy has finished in the top 10 for the last four years and last night had to watch Matt Kuchar ace the 16th in a homeward 31 to finish tied fourth on five under.

And he admitted that he was targeting an eight under par 64 last night after going into the final round with too much to do yet again.

He joked: "I feel like I have been five or six back the last few years so give me a six-shot lead and I am your man. 

"I thought 67 would playoff and 64 would win it. We will see how that prediction goes and what Rosey does the last few holes here."

He insisted that there's nothing in his game he'd like to change, adding: "I just need to change my golf ball. I thought by golf ball was doing weird things in the wind and was very inconsistent. T

"My putting feels as good as it has done in a long time, but I maybe didn't drive it as well as I could have the last couple of days. 

"I don't think there's anything I need to change. I feel that I am getting pretty good at all aspects of this game and hopefully, it is just a matter of time."

The Co Down man, 27, plans to take time off after his wedding to go on honeymoon "in the middle of nowhere" and get away from it all before returning for The Players at Sawgrass from May 11-14.

After that he's looking forward to the season's remaining majors with the US Open at Erin Hills, the Open at Royal Birkdale and the US PGA at Quail Hollow where he has won twice.

He said: "Erin Hills is a bit of an unknown for everyone, but Birkdale is one of the best courses on the rota. 

"Then we are going to Quail Hollow for the PGA where I have had success in the past. Nothing but positive ahead, I feel. 

"My game is in good shape and it is question of working hard to put myself in position to win. 

"I will turn my focus to trying to get ready for the US Open in June and try to add to my major tally there."