Former major champion Rich Beem believes Rory McIlroy can win the Masters by learning from the “surgical” approach of Jordan Spieth.
Spieth almost became the first debutant to win the Masters since 1979 when he finished runner-up to Bubba Watson in 2014, returning 12 months later to cruise to victory with a then-record total of 18 under par.
The former world number one then held a five-shot lead with nine holes to play in the defence of his title before a late collapse, and also finished third in both 2018 and 2021 before surprisingly missing the cut last year.
McIlroy’s best finish at Augusta came 12 months ago when he surged through the field with a closing 64 to finish runner-up to Scottie Scheffler and Beem believes McIlroy will get his hands on a coveted green jacket to complete a career grand slam.
“I don’t think you ever crack the code when it comes to Augusta National, if you did you’d have about four people that win every other year,” the 2002 US PGA winner and Sky Sports commentator told the PA news agency.
“Spieth would be one of them, Tiger Woods obviously. Phil (Mickelson) has been here more times than anyone else on the planet. But I think that a 64 on Sunday gives you some insight into what you’re capable of.
“If you’re going to look at how to dissect this golf course, Jordan Spieth in 2015 dissected this golf course like a surgeon. I was sitting watching it in awe.
“If he got out of position he immediately got back into position, he never tried to do anything too brave, too heroic, so the next shot was the easiest you could possibly have under those circumstances. It was amazing.
“Rory obviously started well back in the final round last year, but you’ve got something there now that says ‘Okay, I just did something I hadn’t done here before, now I have a better understanding of what it is I’m trying to do out there’. You now have a template that worked.
“What would have happened if he shot 64 in the first round and plotted backwards? It’s a totally different story. The way he finished though tells a better story of what he now understands about the golf course.
“He would have lost that if he’d gone 64, 72, 72, 72.”
And that is a sentiment with which Beem fully agrees.
“I think it’s just a matter of time,” he said. “Whether it’s this year – which I believe it is – or the years upcoming.
“The biggest reason has nothing to do with his driving. At the (WGC) match play, he led the field in scrambling, his short game was phenomenal. The chipping and touch he had around the greens was sensational.”
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