Greg Norman backs McIlroy to return stronger after Masters meltdown

London: Golfing great Greg Norman has backed Rory McIlroy to come back and succeed at the Masters a year after a last-day meltdown.

McIlroy has thanked Norman for “reaching out” and offering counselling following the Ulsterman’s collapse last year. And the double Open winner insisted the US Open champion can triumph this time round.

The Daily mail quoted Norman, now 57, as saying: “I don’t care who you name, whether it’s Arnold Palmer or myself or Ballesteros or Tom Watson – we have all experienced a little bit of a meltdown. It’s all relative to how you react to it. A lot of people reached out to me when it happened and it’s a very calming feeling.”

He added: “I really put Rory as high favourite going into Augusta this year. He is putting beautifully, his short game is great, he has the perfect ball flight for Augusta National and now he has to manage his expectations going in.”

McIlroy, 22, told Sky Sports his heart-to-hearts with Norman have helped his mental game, adding: “Greg was very good. He said to me that I was 21 when it happened to me and he was 41, so he made me realise that it wasn’t going to be my last chance.”