Rory McIlroy insists his much-criticised putting is good enough to secure a first Masters title and complete a career Grand Slam.
McIlroy was ranked a lowly 140th in strokes gained putting on the PGA Tour last year and suffered an embarrassing five-putt during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this month.
However, the former world No 1 is confident he has what it takes to triumph at Augusta National and become just the sixth player to have won all four major titles.
“At Augusta you don’t need to putt great, you need to not waste any shots, no three putts, hole everything inside five feet,” McIlroy told BBC Sport Northern Ireland. “I feel good about Augusta, I know the golf course so well.
“You don’t need to hole every 15 footer that you look at, you need to be efficient, just not to be wasteful. Speed is important and lag putting, they are big keys and I feel like I’ve started to get a lot better at that, especially there because there is a lot of break and a lot of different slopes but I think I have it figured out.”
The 28-year-old is sitting out this week’s WGC-Mexico Championship, which sees European No 1 Tommy Fleetwood aiming to continue a superb start to the 2018 season. The 27-year-old was a 200-1 outsider when he finished second at Chapultepec GC behind world No 1 Dustin Johnson 12 months ago, but is rated just a 16-1 chance to go one better this year.
“The year’s been great so far,” said the Englishman. “It was important, after having such a good year, to keep going, just like [Honda Classic winner] Justin Thomas has done this year.
“He just keeps progressing and that’s what you hope to do and what you’ve kind of got to do. So far so good, but you can never take your foot off the gas, you have to keep going.”
The event in Mexico doesn’t feature a single Scot, but both Scott Jamieson and David Drysdale will be hoping to get in the mix in the Tshwane Open, this week’s European Tour event in South Africa.