Chasing a career grand slam, McIlroy began the final round at Augusta National three shots off the lead and closed to within a shot of eventual winner Patrick Reed after two holes, but faded badly with a closing 74.
That prompted a week of binge-watching television box sets such as “Billions” and reading psychology books The Chimp Paradox and Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. But, after being dragged out of the house by his wife Erica, McIlroy is now ready to return to competitive action at Quail Hollow, a course where he has won twice before, including his maiden PGA Tour title in 2010.
“It was just the quiet moments when you’re staring off into the distance and thinking about a certain shot or a certain putt, so it got to the point where I needed to see a bit of daylight and start to do my normal things,” said McIlroy of his post- Masters recovery.
“Once I got back into my routine I was fine; I was disappointed because I just didn’t give a good account of myself on that final day.”
McIlroy, who turns 29 on Friday, added: “The Masters has now become the biggest golf tournament in the world and I’m comfortable saying that. I don’t care about the US Open or the Open Championship, it is the biggest golf tournament in the world, the most amount of eyeballs, the most amount of hype, everything is at Augusta.
“For me it’s the most special tournament that we play and it’s the one everyone desperately wants to win, but even if I was going for my first major, it’s still tough to win.”
McIlroy and world No 2 Justin Thomas are the joint favourites at Quail Hollow, where Thomas won his first major title in last year’s US PGA Championship. Tiger Woods also makes his first start in the event since 2012.