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Grand Plan

Rory McIlroy looks like a good bet to become the first player since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to win back-to-back majors when he tees it up at Valhalla next month, but given that he already has a PGA Championship, he now has his sights set on the career Grand Slam by winning at Augusta next year, making him the sixth player to do so after Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Tiger Woods. In an ironic twist, just making the cut on the number at the 2014 Masters might help him win the 2015 tournament. An odd number of players made the cut, so McIlroy, as the first one out, had to play with a non-competing marker, Augusta member Jeff Knox, who also happens to be a two-time Georgia state amateur champion and holds the course record (61) from the members' tees. Knox actually beat McIlroy by a shot (70–71) and the Irish lad said Sunday after winning the Open that he may have to play a couple of practice rounds with Knox before next year’s tournament because “he’s the best I’ve ever seen on Augusta’s greens.” When word of that reached Knox, he said he really didn’t think McIlroy needed his assistance but he’d be happy to help in any way he could. “I think in general there are a couple of greens out there you have to be careful with, or know they break a different way than it might appear. I know that place pretty well, and if I can just help (save) half a shot a day, that could be the difference. I would love to help him win a green jacket.”

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