• “I was never so sure I was going to have a great week at Augusta and then that happened,” McIlroy told BBC Sport.
• Rahm is bidding to become the first player since Jack Nicklaus in 1975 to win the Masters and PGA titles in the same season — although back then the PGA was the final major of the year and contested in August.
Rory McIlroy says missing the cut at the Masters provided him with a little “wake-up call” as he prepares for this week’s US PGA Championship at Oak Hill.
The Northern Irishman won this title for a second time in 2014, but is yet to add to that fourth major victory.
“I was never so sure I was going to have a great week at Augusta and then that happened,” McIlroy told BBC Sport.
“The night before, I felt so good, but the game can bring you back down to earth pretty quickly.”
The world number three added: “It was a great lesson to me to not put too much into feelings or vibes.
“I shot five under on the back nine on Wednesday afternoon [in practice] and everything was in a good spot, but that’s golf. The best way is to not let yourself get to that level of expectation. I need to have a little more acceptance.
“When I think back to Augusta and the past few months, my level of acceptance wasn’t where it needs to be. If I work on that, I know I’ll play some good golf again.”
McIlroy had good reason to go into the Masters in such confident fashion given he had won the PGA Tour’s CJ Cup in October to return to the top of the world rankings and followed that with victory in the Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour in January of this year.
He then finished joint second in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and third in the WGC Match Play during March.
However, between those two events he missed the cut at the PGA Tour’s flagship Players Championship. He has spoken about how spending too much time during that period in meetings about LIV Golf and the future of the American tour period affected his game.
“They say embrace the struggle,” he continued. “I’m not saying I’m struggling a lot, I had a chance to win Bay Hill, I had a chance to win the Match Play and it was only six weeks ago, so it’s not like this has been a long-term thing.
“It gives you a purpose to go to the range and work on things. Sometimes, success can bring complacency and having little wake-up calls along the way can be a good thing.”
World number one Jon Rahm is also keen to use his experience at the Masters as he chases a third major victory this week.
“It gives me a lot of confidence,” the Spaniard said of last month’s four-shot victory at Augusta. “It’s been great to be the Masters champion but this week I’ve got to focus on the task in hand and hopefully win back-to-back.
“A lot of time we focus on bad draws and I can say I had the worst draw [at Augusta] and then I won the tournament.”
Rahm was referring to the storms that battered the course and led to huge delays in play in Georgia.
“It showed me so many things can happen,” he added. “Before halfway through the third round I was four shots back and I ended up winning by four shots. It showed me what a lot of people mean by patience: focus on yourself and what you can do.”
Rahm is bidding to become the first player since Jack Nicklaus in 1975 to win the Masters and PGA titles in the same season — although back then the PGA was the final major of the year and contested in August.
“It doesn’t happen often that a player wins more than one major in a year, so it would be amazing to be able to join my name to that list,” said the two-time major winner, who won the 2021 US Open.
Brooks Koepka was the most recent, winning the US Open and PGA in 2018, while Jordan Spieth - who will complete the Grand Slam of winning all four majors if he wins this week - claimed the Masters and US Open titles in 2015 and McIlroy won The Open and PGA in 2014.
Rahm and McIlroy both said “discipline” would be the most important trait needed by the winner of this week’s major, which is the fourth US PGA to be held at the Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, in the north-west corner of the state of New York.
“You have to keep out of fairway bunkers,” said McIlroy. “They are very penal. Don’t fire at pins, middle of the green will be a good leave on most holes. It’s a long golf course, par is going to be good and you need to be hitting into greens from fairways.”
On his chances of winning, he added: “I think I’m close. I’m seeing better things, certainly some better golf shots.
“I expect to go out there and, if I execute like I can, win this week.”