Rory McIlroy hopes playing in this week’s Texas Open will prove the ideal preparation for the Masters where he will make his eighth attempt at achieving golf’s career grand slam.

Over the past seven years, McIlroy has had at least one week off before the season’s first major.

But his change of approach this year includes a recent trip to Augusta.

“I just wanted to mix it up and I still wanted to feel like I was sharp going into Augusta,” said McIlroy, 32.

The former world number one opted to skip last week’s WGC Match Play event after deciding that the TPC San Antonio event which starts on Thursday would represent a better lead in to next week’s major.

“I wanted my last competitive start before Augusta to be a stroke play event instead of match play. It’s two completely different mindsets, so that was part of the reason, too.

“I was at Augusta the last couple of days and I just went there on my own. I didn’t go with any members, I didn’t stay on property. I just wanted to come and see the golf course.”

McIlroy’s trip to Georgia means he was able to peruse course changes, which include the slight lengthening of the 11th and 15th holes plus the building of new greens at the third, 13th and 17th.

“It was good to be there, good to see the place.

“At least coming into this event and playing this week, I don’t feel like there’s a rush to get there next week and cram and prepare. I feel like I’ve already done most of my work, which is a nice feeling.”

After four straight top-15 finishes, McIlroy could only manage 33rd in the weather-affected Players Championship earlier this month but he insists his form is better than 12 months ago when he suffered his second missed cut at Augusta.

“I’m way more comfortable with my game, I’m happy with where everything is. Everything seems like it’s a lot more settled.”