McIlroy seeks career grand slam as favourite on Masters odds

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He said whether a greater impact would be made by hosting the best women professionals was "a matter of opinion" and the Masters remains the "epicenter" of Augusta National's competitive tournament administration.

"Our focus throughout our history has been on, as far as our efforts to promote the game outside of the Masters have always been, on amateur golf", Augusta National chairperson Fred Ridley said on the eve of the Masters on Wednesday.

That means the purse for the champion is the same sum as defending champion Patrick Reed received after his impressive final round performance past year. I put myself there with a chance to win the last two major championships of the year last year.

"I don't think I've ever started a season this well in terms of finishes, and even stats wise, looking at all my stats, they are right up there with some of the best years that I've had", said McIlroy, whose seven top-10 finishes in seven starts this year include a victory at the US PGA Tour's prestigious Players Championship in March.

Tiger Woods, a four-time victor of the Masters, was impressed by the quality of golf on view in the final round.

"Every time I come out here and practise, I pick up a little something here or there that I did not know on how to play a certain shot from a certain position to a certain pin".

"I would say that I wouldn't have foreseen that, for sure", said Woods. "I just would never rule him out".

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This week at Augusta National, China's No 1 is hoping to build on his solid Masters debut a year ago, when he finished 16 strokes behind champion Patrick Reed.

"I don't need to win again, but I really want to", said Woods, who will tee off at 11:04 a.m. EDT alongside China's Haotong Li and Spaniard Jon Rahm for the first two rounds.

Patrons at the Masters can easily find themselves walking the course alongside a member but they will be hard-pressed to get any of those wearing Green Jackets to open up about one of the more exclusive clubs on the planet. He's won there so many times in the past and he knows exactly what to do to win there.

"I'm not going to go and live with the monks for a couple months in Nepal, it's 10 minutes a day", McIlroy side in a fascinating pre-tournament interview.

Last year, Patrick Reed won his first Green Jacket, edging out Rickie Fowler by one stroke to finish at -15 overall.

Play begins Thursday in the 83rd Masters.

The Masters is the second-largest purse of the four major championships, with the the US Open offering the largest purse in golf at $12 million. Jordan Spieth finished third at -13. The golf course is special. I get a rush out of pulling off shots that sometimes I only dreamed about pulling off, and to see some of the reactions.

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