AUSTIN, Texas – Sunday moved fast for Rory McIlroy. Less than an hour after dropping his semifinal match to Cameron Young, he was back on the first tee to play Scottie Scheffler in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play consolation bout. Shortly after closing out the world No. 1, 2 and 1, the Northern Irishman’s attention turned to the next task.
“I feel really good,” McIlroy said. “I’m a lot more confident going into Augusta than I was last year and last year was my best-ever finish (runner-up). The one thing about Augusta is, you can’t go in too over-confident.”
Despite his semifinal loss, McIlroy was dominant at Austin Country Club thanks to his transition to a slightly shorter shaft in his driver (44 inches, from 44.5) and a return to a Scotty Cameron putter similar to the model he used to win the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship.
Matches and scoring from the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship
McIlroy said he will examine his statistics from the Match Play, where he was third in the field in strokes gained: off the tee but lost shots to the field from the fairway, and tailor his preparation to the demands of Augusta National and the year’s first major.
“I feel like I’m driving the ball better, I’ve got a driver I’m more comfortable with, and my putting really progressed as the week went on here,” he said. “Augusta has become more of a driving course as the years have gone on and it didn’t used to be, but approach play is still the big key at Augusta and I felt like I hit my irons and wedges well this week.”
McIlroy said his plan is to travel to Augusta, Georgia, for the Masters next Sunday, but he’s considering a one-day trip next week to get an early look at the course.
“I always feel the most confident when I feel the most prepared, so for me it’s about just making sure I do the right things next week so I know I’m ready to go,” he said.