Slipping from the top: Rory McIlroy was last golf's world No.1 in June (he is now ranked No. 5) and is bidding to win a fifth major and his first since 2014.
Grand Slam chasing: McIlroy just needs the Masters to become only the sixth player to win a career grand slam of all four major titles alongside legends of the game Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen.
Standout junior: The young Northern Irishman was a child prodigy. He won the World U10 title and here poses with six-time major champion Nick Faldo after winning the Under 17 Division of the 2006 Faldo Junior Series at Celtic Manor in Wales.
American idol: The young Rory idolized Tiger Woods, who won his first major in 1997 when McIlroy was eight. At nine, he wrote to the US star, saying he was "coming to get him."
Wider prominence: He was well known on the amateur scene, making Tiger-esque waves in Northern Ireland, but McIlroy first showed his talents to a wider audience as an 18-year-old when he finished as the best amateur at the 136th British Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, in 2007.
Professional breakthrough: He delayed turning pro until after the Walker Cup, the amateur version of the Ryder Cup, in September 2007. He won his first pro event at the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic.
Family affair: McIlroy's delighted parents Gerry and Rosie had worked multiple jobs and poured every penny into his obsession with golf from a young age.
Breaking America: His first win in the US came at the Quail Hollow Championship in May 2010.
Major looming: A first-round 63 at the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews suggested McIlroy's first major title was imminent.
Blown off course: But he struggled to cope with wild winds on day two and dropped back before battling to a distant third place behind South African Louis Oosthuizen.