Posted March 8, 2012 05:20 pm

Rory's pre-Masters run-up

After this week's WGC-Cadillac Championship, the next time you'll see Rory McIlroy will be at Augusta National Golf Club for the 76th Masters Tournament.

The world's No. 1-ranked golfer said after opening with 73 at Doral on Thursday that he would skip the next three weeks to get ready for the Masters, as he did last year.

"I feel like it worked well last year; I got some really good practice in," McIlroy said. " And to be honest, I feel like my first event back usually is my best, first or second. "

It did work at Augusta National for 63 holes. Of course McIlory, who had a four-shot lead entering the final round, fell apart on the back nine, shot 80 and tied for 15th.

After his round Thursday, McIlroy said he was a little mentally flat because this is his third start in as many weeks. He'll make sure that doesn't happen at the Masters.

It will be interesting to see if McIlroy will still be ranked No. 1 when he makes his return.