Rory McIlroy’s Masters prep included a rematch with Augusta club champion Jeff Knox — and he lost

Rory McIlroy skipped last week’s World Golf Championship in Mexico City, but he didn’t take the week off altogether.

Instead, McIlroy revealed at his Valspar Championship press conference that he traveled to Augusta National for a scouting trip that included a rematch with the club’s most formidable player, Jeff Knox. Knox serves as a marker during Masters week and has beaten several high-profile pros straight up in head-to-head showdowns, including McIlroy in 2014. This time, though, McIlroy faced a far tougher test: he was forced to give Knox eight shots. So how’d the match go?

“Oh, I never had a chance,” McIlroy said. “I’d already lost on the first tee.”

The trip to Augusta also included Rory’s father Gerry, his manager Sean O’Flaherty, and Seminole president Jim Dunn. McIlroy acknowledged that he even made a trip to Augusta’s pro shop, where he bought a new money clip. A reporter followed up: does he ever visit other pro shops? His answer came straight from the stars-are-just-like-us files.

“Usually I go into the Seminole pro shop and put stuff on my dad’s account,” he said with a smile.

McIlroy tees off at 7:45 a.m. off No. 10 tee on Thursday.

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