"Seven years have gone by".
This is McIlroy's best chance yet to join one of golf's most exclusive clubs.
But once again McIlroy's putter cooled off and he fell flat when it mattered most.
'The Masters is one of the greatest walks in all of golf, and all I have been able to do the past couple of years is just come here to eat, ' he added. But after missing it he never really looked the same again.
A respectful McIlroy said the those players could still have a major say in today's events. I just felt like from that point, the crowds were electrified.
McIlroy put up a valiant fight in the midst of roars from the USA crowd following Reed, and signed for a seven-under 65.
Reed, whose third round 67 included two spectacular eagles in the space of three holes on the back nine, has the chance to become the first victor of The Masters that could shoot four rounds in the 60s. "The pressure is all on him".
"Of course it's frustrating", McIlroy said. "I pushed myself pretty hard to get ready. I'm hoping to come in and spoil the party".
The Masters is where he threw away a four-shot lead in the final round, and now it's the missing piece of a career slam.
"At the end of the day, if I go out and I feel pleased with how I play, then, you know, it should be an enjoyable Sunday night". "It won't be quite as intense, but we'll still be feeling it. Patrick is going for his first [major], and I'm going for. something else".
Reed added: "It's going to be a lot of fun".
Since then he has won four majors, but never a Masters.
"It's just kind of one of those things that I've been working on it and trying to tap into Ryder Cups more and more and try to play some solid golf".
McIlroy, three shots back and playing in the final pair with Reed, had to get off to a quick start and he did just that, chopping two shots off the deficit in just two holes. His tee shot on the 15th was too far left, leaving trees between him and the flag.
The 34-year-old Australian missed a series of short birdie putts during a 73 which left him at six under and eight shots off the pace.
He eagled on 13 by knocking in a 14-foot putt.
And when the putts don't fall on the final day, there's not a lot of excuses that can be made. "I hate to say it, but I had no chance of winning, so I was pulling for him", Thomas said.
That went to Rickie Fowler after shooting 67 in his final round. "I didn't know what my position was, but I think I'm in", he said after his round. "Not that I have anything against Patrick".
Both realize that even with their Ryder Cup connection, this is hardly match play. "If I can get off to a good solid start, that will be enough to keep me hanging in there". Hole some putts. But he's going for the career grand slam. But it will likely damage his psyche.
Nothing in golf compares to the dramatic intensity of a Sunday at the Masters.
Four-time Masters victor Tiger Woods was left spinning his wheels on Moving Day.
"Another loose day with the irons", he said.
"Hopefully, all I did learn seven years ago, I can put into practice", McIlroy said.
Paul Casey was the first golfer off in the third round and played with marker Jeff Knox. I knew when I birdied 14 it was about the same time Jordan bogeyed the last.
Here, Press Association Sport reviews the tournament in a "round" of 18 statistics.