McIlroy better than 2011 – Scott

Adam Scott has labelled Rory McIlroy a “phenomenon” as the world’s top golfers gather at Augusta to begin their preparations for the Masters 2012 (Rory McIlroy 6/1 Masters Outright).

The year’s first major gets underway at the famous Georgia venue on Thursday with Tiger Woods (9/2) favourite and McIlroy second in the betting.

The Northern Irishman looked like taking the title 12 months ago, only to shoot 80 for his final round and slip down from a four-shot final-round lead to finish in a tie for 15th.

But the 22-year-old took the positives from the chastening experience and went on to destroy the field at Congressional to land the US Open.

And it was the way in which McIlroy was able to draw a line under events at the Masters and hit straight back that impressed Scott the most.

“He handled that better than anyone else could have probably – fantastic,” said the Australian star.

“He’s great. He bounced back and won the US Open and he’s become a better player since then. I mean, absolutely, Rory is a phenomenon – really.”

Woods played nine practice holes with Mark O’Meara on Monday and, according to the US veteran, looks to have everything in place for yet another tilt at Masters glory.

“I expect him to play really well – I’d be shocked if he didn’t,” he said. “He’s driving the ball well. He’s powerful again. He’s got a little pep to his step again.”

Woods has won four Green Jackets in his illustrious career while McIlroy has yet to claim the title but, with both players in red-hot form going into the event, it would be no surprise to see them going head-to-head over the back nine on Sunday (Woods 4/5, McIlroy Evens, tie 16/1 72-hole match).

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