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augusta woe Rory McIlroy encouraged to 'take a break' from golf as he misses the Masters cut

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Rory McIlroy reacts on the 18th green during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 09, 2021 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy reacts on the 18th green during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 09, 2021 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy reacts on the 18th green during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 09, 2021 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has been advised to take a break from golf after he missed the cut at The Masters.

As McIlroy's latest attempt to complete a career grand slam of major titles came up short as backed up a first round of 76 with a second round of 74 to finish on six over par and miss the cut by three.

McIlroy has not won a major championship since 2014 and has added Pete Cowen to his coaching team after slipping to 12th in the world rankings following a run of poor form.

The 31-year-old carded an opening 76 at Augusta National and played the first 10 holes of round two in four over par to fall well outside the projected cut.

Commentating on Sky Sports, former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley said: “He’s starting to doubt himself, confusion in his swing and nobody’s ever played well with a whole lot of thoughts in your head.

“There’s a lot of work to be done. I think the best thing for Rory is a few weeks in the sunshine on a beach somewhere and clear his head. Sometimes the harder you try at this game the harder it gets, no matter how talented you are.”

Tiger Woods’s former coach Butch Harmon added: “Rory’s out of sorts. I agree with what Paul said – a couple of weeks off down in the Bahamas with the family, just relax, get away from golf and then come back with a fresh outlook.

“I said coming into this week it was going to be difficult bringing a new golf swing into a major championship. First of all, bad shots are part of the process, as we’re seeing.

“The difficulty is when you come in with a new swing you don’t have the confidence in it – it works on the range, for practice rounds. That doesn’t mean anything until you have to put it in play.

“To have made the change right before coming into a major. Was that the right thing to do? I don’t know. He picked the right guy, that’s for doggone sure. He’s had success with everybody he’s ever touched.”

At the other end of the leaderboard, Justin Rose recovered from a poor start to claim a slender halfway lead in the 85th Masters as defending champion Dustin Johnson made an early exit at Augusta National.

Rose was four shots clear following a brilliant 65 on a tough opening day when just two other players broke 70, but saw that advantage wiped out after covering his first 12 holes in three over.

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Three birdies in the next four holes took Rose back out in front and a second round of 72 kept the 2013 US Open champion in pole position in pursuit of a second major title.

At seven under par, Rose was a shot ahead of Brian Harman and Will Zalatoris, with 2015 champion Jordan Spieth and Australia’s Marc Leishman a stroke further back.

Ireland's Shane Lowry produced another steady round of 73 to head into the weekend on level par.

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