Former world number one Rory McIlroy is trying to temper the amount of pressure he puts on himself ahead of the Masters.
McIlroy started the year with two top-three finishes on the European Tour, but he has not found the same success this year on the PGA Tour, missing the cut at Pebble Beach and then finishing tied for 20th at last week's Genesis Open.
With just a few scheduled events before the four-time major champion tries to earn the career grand slam at Augusta National in April, McIlroy is trying to curb expectations as he prepares for the Honda Classic, starting in Florida on Thursday.
"You don't have to win a tournament [before the Masters]," McIlroy, playing in his current hometown, said. "You look at, you know, obviously Sergio going in last year, had won a tournament. Danny Willett the year before had won a tournament.
"But I don't think it's necessary, but obviously if you do win one, it makes you feel a little better about yourself going there. But I don't think it's imperative. I think as long as you know that your game is in good shape and you're happy with all aspects, because again, the margins between winning and losing are so fine that you could be really happy with your game one week and finish 10th, and actually not feel great about it and have a chance to win.
"So that's how fine the margins are out here. So I don't think it's imperative to, but obviously to get a win under your belt, it does make you feel a bit better going into it. Yeah, I don't want to put myself under that pressure because there's enough going into Augusta, anyway."
McIlroy has had some success at the Honda Classic, winning in 2012 and losing a play-off two years later, but the Northern Irishman has also endured some rough finishes at PGA National.
"Feast or famine, that's what my history's been here," he said. "It's a tough golf course. Some guys play the West Coast and it's sort of one week too many for them.
"I don't want to get beaten up again. That's why a few guys mightn't be here. I think it magnifies if your game's off just a touch. If you miss it just by tiny margins here, it can punish you quite heavily. But if you're on, it gives you opportunities to score, and I think that's what's happened."
Despite McIlroy's tumultuous past at this venue, he believes there are ways to attack the course.
"I think it's usually windy here. It looks like it's going to be breezy for the week, so controlling your ball flight is a big thing," McIlroy said. "I think being conservative off the tee is something that you have to do here to play, especially with the way the rough is. Play out of the fairway. Hitting greens; it's a ball-striker's golf course. You can't up-and-down it around here and expect to win. You have to hit fairways. You have to hit greens and you have to just take your chances when they come along.
"But this week with the way the wind is, it's a par 70; you shoot four scores in the 60s, you're not going to be that far away."
|FIFA issues statement after ´questionable´ Amrabat decision|
|Cipriani and Robshaw to start for England at Newlands|
|Team Sky hit back at Hinault´s ´irresponsible´ Froome comments|
|Iran fans are the real winners as women get glimpse of the future|
|Beckham predicts England-Argentina World Cup final|
|Napoli should sign Meret, Zenga claims|
|Meticulous Mouratoglou shaping stars of the future|
|Journalist hands Khedira boarding pass for early flight home|
|Germany v Sweden: Muller upbeat ahead of huge World Cup clash|
|South Korea v Mexico: Germany´s conquerors set for role reversal|
|Chandimal appeals against one-match ban|
|Fofana and Lamerat start, Parra skipper for final All Blacks Test|
|Asia and Africa being left behind - Queiroz|
|Emre Can arrives for Juventus medical|
|Championship fixtures: Bielsa´s Leeds face Stoke while Lampard´s Derby go to Reading|
|Tui handed first Wallabies start, five changes for Ireland|
|Sorensen: Denmark need to ´muscle up´ against Australia|
|Nolan Arenado helps Rockies power past Mets|
|Pavon set to be unleashed as Sampaoli plots Messi masterplan|
|Pique welcomes discussion with Barca hierarchy|
|Ramos hits back at Maradona|
|Spieth praises U.S. Open champion Koepka|
|Loftus-Cheek will consider Chelsea future|
|Jorginho deal not done yet - City|
|Amrabat slams referee Geiger over alleged shirt request|
|Neymar targets improvement against Costa Rica|
|Confident Spieth ready to relish ´Car-nasty´ Open|
|All Blacks ring the changes for series finale with France|
|Sampaoli yet to decide on Argentina XI to face Croatia|
|Bale needs Real Madrid assurances, says agent|
|What game were you watching? - Costa bites back at journalist|
|Catalans capitalise on Leeds collapse to secure victory|
|Ronaldo facial hair inspired by Quaresma joke|
|This is not football - Carvajal criticises Iran tactics|
|Costa strike keeps 2018 World Cup waiting for first goalless draw|
|FIFA fines Mexico over discriminatory chants|
|Suarez announces wife´s pregnancy after World Cup heroics|
|Fortune favours Spain´s ´Supermen´ as luck proves to be Iran´s kryptonite|
|Hubert Green, U.S. Open winner who ignored death threat, dies at 71|
|Osaka injured in Birmingham, Kerber crashes out in Mallorca|
|Iran 0 Spain 1: Costa goal breaks stubborn resistance|
|Cilic battles back but Wawrinka bows out at Queen´s|
|Messi the greatest but Croatia will play to beat Argentina, says Dalic|
|Thiem stunned by Sugita in Halle|
|Salah rejects talk of rift in Egypt camp|
|England Women follow up men´s ODI record with T20I high|
|Southgate laughs off dislocated shoulder: Better me than one of the players!|
|World Cup hosts Russia qualify as Egypt make early exit|
|Pique wins 100th Spain cap in Iran World Cup clash|
|Serbia v Switzerland: Kolarov not interested in playing for a draw|
|Rakitic wary of ´uber-motivated´ Messi|
|Not my finest moment - Mickelson issues apology after U.S. Open controversy|
|´Best in the world´ Messi the victim of unfair treatment, says Sampaoli|
|Suarez off the mark but resurgent Russia will not fear stuttering Uruguay|
|Uruguay 1 Saudi Arabia 0: Centurion Suarez strikes to send La Celeste, Russia through|
|Peru boss Gareca not a fan of ´novelty´ VAR|
|Nigeria v Iceland: Hallgrimsson anticipates another intense battle|
|Griezmann to face Peru despite ankle issue and struggles – Deschamps|
|Leicester sign Norwich´s Maddison|
|Leinster face Wasps, Bath, Toulouse in Champions Cup draw|
|2019 Ashes to start World Test Championship|
|Wizards to face Knicks in London next season|
|Vettel eyeing Paul Ricard profits - French GP in numbers|
|Malaga turn to Muniz once again|
|Amrabat: VAR doesn´t work if you do not use it|
|Suarez earns 100th Uruguay cap|
|You´ve got to look beyond football - Denmark chip in to fly new father Knudsen home|
|Neymar returns to Brazil training after injury scare|
|No passports required - Burnley´s 51-year wait for European tie sees Clarets draw... Aberdeen|
|Huddersfield bring in Bacuna to boost midfield|