JEREMY CROSS COLUMN: McIlroy’s dilemma, drugs cheats exposed, City’s Ibrahimovic nightmare

Is he still haunted by his Masters meltdown in 2011, when he took a commanding lead into the final round but turned into a hacker, shot 80, finished 15th and cried down the phone to his mum the following morning?

Can he handle the weight of expectation as he tees it up this week as one of the firm favourites once again?

Can he outgun rivals Jason Day, Adam Scott and defending champion Jordan Speith, and does he want to win the title too much?

Golf is played with the head as much as the hands, but McIlroy is showing signs that he is trying too hard to win a prize he feels duty-bound to claim.

For only the second time, he will not take part in the Par 3 competition 24-hours before the real deal begins.

Instead, he will be pounding balls on the practice range in an attempt to perfect a swing most people reckon cannot be improved.

He has earned more than $1m from this tournament alone, but he would give all of it back in return for having the most famous item of clothing in world sport hanging in his wardrobe.

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