McIlroy vows to bounce back
Kuala Lumpur - An upbeat Rory McIlroy on Wednesday said he was determined to learn from his heart-breaking US Masters final round, when he threw away a commanding lead to finish well off the pace.
GALLERY: Charl Schwartzel heads to Malaysia
The 21-year-old Northern Irishman said he had had time to reflect during the long trip from Augusta to Kuala Lumpur for this week's Maybank Malaysian Open, when he had eventual Masters winner Charl Schwartzel as a travelling companion.
"I'm really just looking at the positives," McIlroy said. "I led that golf tournament for 63 holes, and that's really all I can look at.
"Everyone's going to have bad days - mine just happened probably on the most important day of my golfing career!
"But I'm a very positive person, I know I'll get over it. When I get back in that position, if I have learned from it, I won't let it happen again."
McIlroy led for the first three days and started Sunday's last round with a four-shot advantage, but endured a horrifying meltdown that evoked memories of 1996, when Greg Norman let slip a six-stroke lead.
But the Ulsterman said he had a "great chat" with his father, Gerry, on Monday, and added that he had already progressed since his implosion at last year's British Open, when he led the first round but shot an 80 on day two.
"After the first day at the Masters, I had learned something from the second day at St Andrews. And I came back after a 65 at Augusta and shot a 69," he said.
"So I backed up a good score with another solid score, which I didn't do at St Andrews. So that was a mistake I made and a mistake which I didn't make again.
"And hopefully from last Sunday, if I get in the same position again, I won't make the same mistakes."
McIlroy said his biggest error in Augusta was losing focus, and being distracted by exuberant media coverage predicting a straightforward win.
"It's very hard to keep yourself in the present and not to think about it at all. Not think about winning, not think about putting on that green jacket or walking up the last (fairway) with a two or three-shot lead," he said.
"If I was giving advice to somebody in that position I'd say don't read newspapers, don't look at the TV, don't do anything like that. It's easy to say, 'He's got a four-shot lead'... but it's a lot easier said than done."
He admitted that his shanked tee-shot on the 10th hole, where he ended up with a triple bogey, turned an earlier wobble into the full-blown collapse that left him 10 shots back and tied for 15th.
"The tee-shot on 10 really knocked my confidence a bit. That was one of my first bad shots of the week and I just thought, 'Where did that come from?' And then I just let it spiral a little bit."
But McIlroy said he was determined to get "back in the saddle" at the star-studded Malaysian Open, where Schwartzel, world number one Martin Kaymer and British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen are among the contenders.
Schwartzel had nothing but praise for McIlroy, as he described their conversations on the long trip to Malaysia via New York and London.
"All the respect to Rory, he seems fine. Rory is just such a good guy, he seemed to get over things very quickly," Schwartzel said.
"Obviously, I think deep down he must be hurting a little bit but he's 100 percent fine. He seems to get over it and he's by far a good enough player. He's going to win lots of majors, lots of them."