Sky Sports Golf podcast: Will Rory McIlroy win The Masters in 2024? Big predictions for major season | Golf News

Rory McIlroy has confirmed a different approach to his schedule ahead of The Masters for 2024, but will it be enough to end his major drought and complete the elusive career Grand Slam?

The reigning Race to Dubai champion told Golf Digest ahead of his runner-up finish at the Dubai Invitational last week that his appearance at Augusta National would be his “ninth or 10th start” of the year, an increase in his typical number of starts ahead of the opening major of the year.

McIlroy missed last year but has seven past top-10s at The Masters, including a runner-up finish in 2022, while Sky Sports Golf’s Robert Lee believes a late arrival to Augusta could enhance his chances of securing the Green Jacket and becoming just the sixth Grand Slam winner in the modern era.

“After all of the years he has been out here, he is trying to find the best way to get to The Masters in peak shape,” Lee told the Sky Sports Golf podcast. “That’s the one tournament that dominates his life because he can be the sixth guy to have the career Grand Slam.

“He just needs to win the tournament that is most suited to them. It’s the one event of the four majors you would say where, if you were to AI design a tournament for McIlroy – with his skillset – you would build The Masters.

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Relive Rory McIlroy’s two wins from 2023, which saw him claim a fifth Race to Dubai title, plus his starring role in Europe’s Ryder Cup triumph.

“All he has to do to win The Masters is fly in Tuesday night, stay away from the noise, play one practice round on Wednesday – when you have the course nearest to tournament condition – and go on Thursday.

“When you get there Sunday, the chatter is about how McIlroy has never won the career Grand Slam. He’s the only player in the entire field who goes through that every single year, so he has to find a way to cut that out and that is to not get there until the last minute.

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“Rory’s one of the best players in the world and has been for a good stretch of time. If you’re one of the best players in the world then you’re going to give yourself chances to win majors and it’s only a matter of time before he wins more, the numbers will tell you that.

“If you keep being there then it’s going to fall into your lap, so why can’t The Masters fall into his lap? He’s just got to go there and play. If he birdies the par-fives then pars the rest, he wins.”

Confidence building for ‘box office’ McIlroy?

McIlroy, who heads to the Hero Dubai Desert Classic as defending champion and looking to win the event for a record fourth time, had a chance to make a winning start to 2024 on Sunday before finishing a shot behind Tommy Fleetwood.

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Highlights from the final round of the Dubai Invitational, as Tommy Fleetwood snatched a dramatic victory from under Rory McIlroy’s nose.

“Winning is really hard,” Lee added. “Sometimes people don’t appreciate that and I think Rory is an easy target to knock. Everyone is like ‘oh he should do this, he should do that, he should have 10 majors by now’, but what we should really do is just celebrate the thing that he is.

“He is the greatest roller-coaster ride in the game of golf and that is why he is box office. That is why you watch McIlroy, not knowing if he’s going to come back in 29 or hit in the three water and make a complete mess of it, or something in between.

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Rory McIlroy rued some crucial mistakes during his final round at the Dubai Invitational, where Tommy Fleetwood snatched victory at the 18th hole.

“Rory, when he’s on the screen, you have to watch him. There’s an excitement to watching him because of the X-factor, which is probably bigger than anyone else in the game, and the vulnerability that there is sometimes. If you’re a golf watcher it’s an exotic mix and McIlroy is the big ticket.

“When he finishes second by a shot because he hit one in the water at the last, dropped four shots on one hole and three-putted from two feet, you look and think there’s a lot of slacking. If those few things were tightened up there then he’s several shots better, so I think Rory can come into the next few weeks with a lot of confidence.”

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Tommy Fleetwood took home the prize at the Dubai Invitational after Rory McIlroy bogeyed the 18th and his European team-mate’s birdie saw him steal victory.

The latest Sky Sports Golf podcast sees Robert Lee and Guardian journalist Ewan Murray join regular host Josh Antmann to talk about the Dubai Invitational, Sony Open, Keith Pelley’s impending departure from the DP World Tour and their predictions for 2024.

Download and listen to the latest Sky Sports Golf podcast and don’t forget to subscribe via Spotify, Spreaker or Apple Podcasts! If you’d like to contact the podcast, then you can email at

Watch Rory McIlroy in action throughout 2024 live on Sky Sports. McIlroy is next in action at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, live on Thursday from 3.30am on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and more on NOW.

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