Talor Gooch: Rory McIlroy's Masters Win Might Have an Asterisk

"If Rory McIlroy goes and completes his [career] grand slam without some of the best players in the world, there's just going to be an asterisk."

by Sead Dedovic
Talor Gooch: Rory McIlroy's Masters Win Might Have an Asterisk
© Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images Sport

Rory McIlroy aims to complete a career Grand Slam at The Masters this year. The focus has been on McIlroy for several seasons, emphasizing the fact that he lacks a Masters victory to achieve his goal. The Northern Irishman feels the pressure season after season to attain the greatest success in his career and finally etch his name in the history of the sport as one who completed a career Grand Slam at The Masters. This year, McIlroy will have another chance to win the Masters. Last year, he came close to achieving his goal.

LIV golfer Joaquin Niemann received a special invite to the Augusta National Major, and Talor Gooch, in an interview with Australian Golf Digest, discussed Niemann's invite.

Joaquin Niemann
Joaquin Niemann© Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images Sport

Gooch expressed that he was not surprised by the decision of the Masters officials, considering Niemann's deserving performances. However, Gooch hopes that in the future, several more from LIV Golf will receive invites, and LIV will start rewarding great golfers.

“It’s not surprising. I think the Majors have kind of shown that they’re not getting on board with LIV. ‘Jaco’ went outside of LIV and played some great golf and they rewarded him for that. So hopefully the day will turn when the Majors decide to start rewarding good play on LIV. Hopefully that’ll be sooner than later.”- Gooch said.

Gooch also commented on Rory McIlroy and his quest for winning the Masters. Winning the Masters is considered one of the greatest achievements in golf, if not the greatest. The honor of triumphing in such a prestigious tournament is reserved for the very best. Many believe that the Northern Irishman deserves to win this competition, but the constant pressure he feels year after year seems to be the main reason for his inability to do so. The constant media coverage and discussions about it add greatly to the pressure he feels.

Gooch is one of those who believes that if McIlroy wins the Masters, it won't be such a significant accomplishment. Namely, Gooch believes that currently, there won't be as a large number of stars playing at the Masters as there used to be, which, according to him, diminishes the importance of this competition and its success.

"If Rory McIlroy goes and completes his [career] grand slam without some of the best players in the world, there's just going to be an asterisk. It's just the reality. I think everybody wins whenever the majors figure out a way to get the best players in the world there."- he said, as quoted by australiangolfdigest!

Rory McIlroy and the 2024 Masters

Many wonder whether Gooch intends to diminish Rory's success if he indeed achieves his goal, or on the other hand, if he feels frustrated that he and many other LIV Golfers won't be able to compete at the Masters this year. 

In any case, this year's Masters could bring an element of excitement, and Rory's victory would certainly be a remarkable accomplishment for this brilliant golfer. Many believe Rory must remain calm and not put unnecessary pressure on himself to win this competition.

Rory McIlroy and the 2023 Masters
Rory McIlroy and the 2023 Masters© Patrick Smith/Getty Images Sport

It can be hard to maintain such a mindset when you are aware of what winning this tournament means, but becoming a star in a particular sport requires immense mental focus. Golf is a psychological game, just like any other. Of course, McIlroy is already a star, but winning the Masters would conclude his story and put an end to debates about whether he is one of the greatest.

After last year's Masters, Rory McIlroy was honest and confirmed that the main reason for his failure at the Masters is the fact that he puts immense pressure on himself. When asked by reporters if having lower expectations would mean he would be happier on the golf course, McIlroy admitted that it is 100% true. He emphasized that he was always thinking only about winning, to win the Green Jacket. In such a mental state, it's challenging to achieve success. McIlroy admitted that during Masters matches, a lot was going through his mind. When you are so focused on winning the Masters, it's very difficult to stay calm.

In his words, there was a sense of dissatisfaction. Anything other than winning this competition is a failure for Rory. He felt he was close to success in 2023, but ultimately did not achieve his goal. The Northern Irishman confirmed that he has mixed emotions about everything. He emphasized that he must be better. This year's Masters will be a great opportunity for him to make amends. We will see if Rory can achieve the success that has been long-awaited this year.

Talor Gooch Rory Mcilroy