Rory McIlroy says he was 'not ready' to win Masters

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy slumped to a final-round 80 at Augusta

Rory McIlroy believes he was not ready to win his first major at the Masters last month.

The Northern Irishman, who will be 22 on Wednesday, led after 63 holes before crashing to a last-round 80 at Augusta.

McIlroy, who will defend his Wells Fargo Championship title at Quail Hollow this week, said: "I displayed a few weaknesses that I need to work on.

"I was just trying to stay ahead of the field, which, in hindsight, probably wasn't a good thing."

The world number six, who fired a closing 62 to win his maiden PGA Tour title 12 months ago, led by four strokes going into the last day at Augusta but his round unravelled after a triple-bogey seven at the 10th and he ended up 10 shots adrift of winner Charl Schwartzel.

"I just should have gone out, played my game and said 'Right, if I play well today I'm capable of shooting 65 around this golf course and winning by 10'," he told reporters in Charlotte, North Carolina - the venue for this week's tournament.

"But that's not the way it worked out and that's experience. That's just learning to be in that position more often.

"Hopefully I'll be able to get myself in those positions more often in my career and sooner or later it's going to happen where it finally clicks and I'm able to handle the whole thing a lot better and win.

"It took me a couple of days maybe to get over it. It was a great chance to win a first major, but it's only golf at the end of the day.

"No-one died. I'm very happy with my life, very happy with my game."

McIlroy went straight from the Masters to the Malaysian Open, where he needed a closing birdie to tie 17-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero for the lead, but instead ran up a bogey six and came third.

The Northern Irishman, who finished third in the last two majors of 2010, has had two other top-10 finishes on the European Tour this season, coming 10th in both the WGC-Cadillac Championship and the Dubai Desert Classic.

McIlroy will play with Americans Jim Furyk and Bubba Watson, who was last week's PGA Tour winner, in the opening round at Quail Hollow.

World number two Martin Kaymer, fourth-ranked Phil Mickelson, England's Paul Casey and Justin Rose and Ireland's three-time major champion Padraig Harrington are among those also in the strong field.

Tiger Woods has withdrawn with a ligament sprain in his left knee and mild left Achilles tendon strain.

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