Thursday 18 January 2018

McIlroy joins 'new Seve' Rahm for opening salvo

Rory McIlroy waits during Tuesday's practice round for the 2017 Masters at Augusta National Golf Course, Georgia. Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Rory McIlroy waits during Tuesday's practice round for the 2017 Masters at Augusta National Golf Course, Georgia. Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are among the marquee pairings for the first two rounds of the 81st Masters which starts tomorrow.

Sandwiched between the four-time Major champion and the 'new Seve' is Japan's Hideto Tanihara, the 48th-ranked player in the world. The trio embark on their Masters campaign at 1.41pm (6.41pm Irish time) tomorrow, and are scheduled for round two at 10.34 am (3.34pm Irish) on Friday.

Read more: Rory McIlroy: 'I'm a p**** in week leading up to the Masters'

Tanihara, 38, who was born in Hiroshima, reached the semi-finals of the Dell Technologies Match Play, losing to eventual champion Dustin Johnson. He then went on to lose 2&1 in the consolation play-off to Bill Haas of the US.

Every player, no matter how experienced, faces nerves on the first tee on the first day at Augusta and Rahm is doing his best to be ready for his Masters debut.

"I'll be very excited on the first tee. I know the first tee-shot I'm going to be really, really pumped up, so I don't know how it's going to go. But that's where I'm going to try to control that," he said.

"I want that, 'Oh my God, I'm playing in the Masters' moment, to be as short as possible. It might take one hole or two holes but I want it to go away as soon as possible."

Shane Lowry has been drawn with Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood at 1.19pm (6.19pm Irish)

Lowry knows the importance of patience at Augusta: "If you get out of position you just have to take your medicine."

Irish Independent

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