Former world number one Rory McIlroy is trying to temper the amount of pressure he puts on himself ahead of the Masters.
McIlroy started the year with two top-three finishes on the European Tour, but he has not found the same success this year on the PGA Tour, missing the cut at Pebble Beach and then finishing tied for 20th at last week's Genesis Open.
With just a few scheduled events before the four-time major champion tries to earn the career grand slam at Augusta National in April, McIlroy is trying to curb expectations as he prepares for the Honda Classic, starting in Florida on Thursday.
"You don't have to win a tournament [before the Masters]," McIlroy, playing in his current hometown, said. "You look at, you know, obviously Sergio going in last year, had won a tournament. Danny Willett the year before had won a tournament.
"But I don't think it's necessary, but obviously if you do win one, it makes you feel a little better about yourself going there. But I don't think it's imperative. I think as long as you know that your game is in good shape and you're happy with all aspects, because again, the margins between winning and losing are so fine that you could be really happy with your game one week and finish 10th, and actually not feel great about it and have a chance to win.
"So that's how fine the margins are out here. So I don't think it's imperative to, but obviously to get a win under your belt, it does make you feel a bit better going into it. Yeah, I don't want to put myself under that pressure because there's enough going into Augusta, anyway."
McIlroy has had some success at the Honda Classic, winning in 2012 and losing a play-off two years later, but the Northern Irishman has also endured some rough finishes at PGA National.
"Feast or famine, that's what my history's been here," he said. "It's a tough golf course. Some guys play the West Coast and it's sort of one week too many for them.
"I don't want to get beaten up again. That's why a few guys mightn't be here. I think it magnifies if your game's off just a touch. If you miss it just by tiny margins here, it can punish you quite heavily. But if you're on, it gives you opportunities to score, and I think that's what's happened."
Despite McIlroy's tumultuous past at this venue, he believes there are ways to attack the course.
"I think it's usually windy here. It looks like it's going to be breezy for the week, so controlling your ball flight is a big thing," McIlroy said. "I think being conservative off the tee is something that you have to do here to play, especially with the way the rough is. Play out of the fairway. Hitting greens; it's a ball-striker's golf course. You can't up-and-down it around here and expect to win. You have to hit fairways. You have to hit greens and you have to just take your chances when they come along.
"But this week with the way the wind is, it's a par 70; you shoot four scores in the 60s, you're not going to be that far away."
|South Africa include Morris & Olivier for remainder of Australia series|
|Icardi reaches 100 Serie A goals against former club Sampdoria|
|Ireland Grand Slam heroes denied homecoming by weather|
|Cardiff trip to Derby postponed due to snow|
|Ogbonna gets Italy call as cover for doubtful Chiellini|
|Sunderland suspend Gibson after drink-driving charge|
|Manly claim record Eels thrashing, Knights win late again|
|Winning FA Cup is not important, claims Chelsea coach Conte|
|No one will be compared to me – Cristiano Ronaldo|
|LeBron James: Cavs worried about Lue health|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Red Bull|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Force India|
|Melbourne Victory 5 Central Coast Mariners 2: Berisha leads rout with hat-trick|
|Clarke breaks three vertebrae, Greipel has collarbone surgery|
|Waratahs blitz Rebels after scoring 38 unanswered points|
|Del Potro relishing Federer showdown|
|Australia to host two games against Team USA in 2019|
|Grizzlies snap 19-game losing streak, LeBron´s triple-double lifts Cavs|
|McIlroy suggests limiting alcohol sales after Bay Hill abuse|
|Marotta dismisses Allegri-PSG links as Juve focus on Can|
|MLS Review: Champions Toronto still winless, Atlanta crush Whitecaps|
|Lukaku: A lot of players will join Manchester United next season|
|I feel like I just woke up – Indian Wells finalist Federer explains slow start|
|High-flying Reds win third straight in Buenos Aires|
|Salah and Liverpool don´t fear Man City: We´ve beaten them!|
|What can I lose? - Mourinho defends criticism of Man Utd players|
|Mourinho accuses Manchester United of being scared to play|
|Mourinho delivers stinging Shaw criticism after FA Cup win|
|Haskell: England not good enough during Six Nations|
|Allegri waits on Chiellini update after Juve´s SPAL stalemate|
|Stenson leads by one with DeChambeau and McIlroy lurking|
|Racing put pressure on leaders Montpellier as Toulon are toppled|
|Klopp eases concerns over Can´s back complaint|
|Six Nations defeats make no difference to England mindset – Hartley|
|Matic was an island of personality - Mourinho questions United mentality|
|Del Potro demolishes Raonic to set up Federer final|
|He´s getting quicker on the Zimmer frame – Schmidt jokes about Best future|
|SPAL 0 Juventus 0: Scudetto charge halted by Serie A strugglers|
|Manchester United 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 0: Lukaku & Matic book semi-final spot|
|Fresh rib fracture for Cavendish but ´no serious injury´ after crash|
|Unbeaten Federer fights back to reach Indian Wells final|
|Klopp: Salah could be among world´s best, but don´t compare him to Messi|
|Woods hopes to still be within reach at Arnold Palmer Invitational|
|Championship Review: Wolves on the charge as Monk lifts Birmingham´s spirits|
|Twickenham boos will ´put me to sleep at night´, Jones claims|
|Salah threatening Rush´s record for goals in single Liverpool season|
|Hodgson hopes Zaha avoided injury|
|Snow causes Wakefield-Widnes abandonment|
|Liverpool 5 Watford 0: Inspirational Salah nets four as Reds bounce back|
|Lambert rues Everton´s ´offside´ opener in costly Stoke City defeat|
|Scotland´s late rally leaves Townsend feeling positive for the future|
|Wales hold off France to claim second behind Ireland|
|Man Utd bench Pogba & Sanchez for FA Cup quarter-final|
|Pardew: Evans loss key to Bournemouth defeat|
|Zarco breaks track record to claim Qatar pole after Rossi crashes in practice|
|Ireland had to make every moment count against England – Best|
|Salah breaks Torres´ impressive Liverpool record|
|We are not heroes one day and villains the next – Mourinho continues defence of Sevilla exit|
|Lions bounce back against Sunwolves, Stormers end miserable streak|
|Jones: England losing streak only natural|
|They have many players who´d get in my team – The Sevilla stars Mourinho should buy|
|Mario Gomez will not beg for World Cup place|
|England´s form continues to run cold in Twickenham snow|
|Nibali holds on in Milan-San Remo as Cavendish crashes again|
|Bournemouth 2 West Brom 1: Stanislas piles misery on Pardew|
|Buffon to play on for Italy as Di Biagio calls up uncapped duo|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Crystal Palace 2: Tomkins and Milivojevic secure priceless win|
|Stockdale makes history as ruthless Ireland win Grand Slam|
|Stoke City 1 Everton 2: Tosun at the double after Adam´s early dismissal|
|Simeone insists Atletico can survive injury crisis|