Paul McGinley's progression from golfer to golf pundit has been a smooth transition with the four-time European tour winner excelling in the role for Sky Sports. With Rory McIlroy's recent success as well as a rejuvenated Tiger Woods, McGinley has never been as excited for a Masters tournament.
"I think this is the most exciting Masters ever in terms of so many guys showing form and so many guys capable of winning on a golf course."
This Thursday McIlroy will seek to end the relentless questions as to whether he is capable of completing a Grand Slam. There is one empty hanger left in the wardrobe and it requires a green jacket to end that narrative. For McGinley, McIlroy's victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational was timely:
He gave everybody a reminder of what he is capable of doing. It was a reminder. He’s had a black box in the last year or so, as we all know. It was timely, with that putting display.
The thing about Rory is he comes in and out.
it seems handling that expectation is set to be McIlroy's biggest challenge.
That’s why it is very hard to gauge how he’s going to do at Augusta and his biggest challenge is history on his shoulders, only four or five guys have won the Grand Slam. It is big, there is a reason only four or five people have won. It is very difficult to accomplish. He is on the edge of history.
One of the things that makes Rory very charismatic is he plays so aggressively, and sometimes that counts against him.
The most incredible comeback in the history of golf could potentially see Tiger Woods succeed at Augusta. As McGinley told the group of journalists, his return is good for the sport:
Golf is in a really good place, a really exciting place at the moment and a lot of that is being fuelled by Tiger’s return to competitiveness as quickly as he has done.
Woods and McIlroy are tied in the betting despite being at very different career points. The former golf kingpin has dawned the green jacket four times in his career, McIlroy has yet to do it once. It is this narrative that ensures much of the attention will fixate on the pair; can Tiger do it again? Can Rory do it just once?
McGinley is not convinced that Woods is just now ready to reclaim the top spot.
We all know how low Tiger has fallen and it would be monumental to come back and win.I personally think he’s heading in the right direction. I don’t know if he’s ready to win that major championship, yet.
However, it is a possibility, and that is what makes this week's tournament to eagerly anticipated.