McIlroy still the student when it comes to the university of Augusta

Salvages his tournament somewhat with a final day 69 after the horrors of Saturday

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the second hole during the final round of the 2013 Masters

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the second hole during the final round of the 2013 Masters


You can be a two-time Major champion at the age of 23, but, as Rory McIlroy discovered on his latest visit to Augusta National, you never stop learning. Not a master, at least not this time, the student – still without his A-game – finished his lesson with a closing 69, for two-over-par 290, which had him clearing out his locker by the time those involved in the business end of affairs rolled up their sleeves.

Frustrated? “Yes!” But philosophical too. “I’m learning each and every year and, hopefully, I’ll come back with a little more experience next year,” said McIlroy, who can look to a back nine in Saturday’s third round – when he suffered a triple bogey seven on the 11th and a double bogey seven on the 15th – as the time when his dream, on this occasion, was ended.

“If I would have had that (on Saturday), it would have been nice,” observed McIlroy after yesterday’s round, which at least reaffirmed – with a round that comprised four birdies and a lone bogey – that he doesn’t always have to do those energy-sapping roller-coaster rides.

Yesterday was about salvage. So far back starting out that any quest for a green jacket was put on the back burner, McIlroy set about continuing the learning process. “If you get on the wrong side of greens and wrong side of pins, it can make you look silly at times . . . . obviously, I went through a bad stretch of holes (on Saturday) from seven to 11, played them in five over, but apart from that I actually felt like I had a decent tournament,” said McIlroy.

What has he learnt most? “It’s one of these golf courses where, when it’s like this unfortunately like you can shoot 65 in a heart beat, but all of a sudden you go for a few shots and you’re staring double and triple bogey in the face . . . it’s the same thing every year. Don’t short side yourself, don’t take on too much when you know you can't. That’s the game plan that I came in with this week and it just didn't pay off,” said McIlroy, who will take a week off before resuming his schedule ahead of next month’s Players championship.