The 25-year-old from Northern Ireland is hoping, this week, to join a select band of five golfers to have won each of the four major titles.
Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus achieved this feat before the 1970s, while Tiger Woods is the only pro to have completed all four triumphs during the last 48 years.
On day one at Augusta National, McIlroy mixed three birdies with a brace of bogeys but was not too downhearted at the end of his first circuit.
Speaking to Sky Sports analyst Tim Barter, McIlroy said: ???It was OK. A solid start, could have been better but could have been worse as well.
???Put myself in some awkward positions on a few holes but I battled well and held it together.
???Made some nice putts, got some good up and downs, birdied the par fives on the back nine and one-under was a decent score.???
Asked how he felt teeing-up earlier in the day, he added: ???A little nervous, very excited, just telling myself to stay as patient as possible because four days around here is a long time.
???You don???t want to get off to an anxious start and press too early. I kept making pars and was quite happy with that.
???I was conservative on the par fives but drove into the hazard on the first one at the second, which wasn???t the plan but still made a great par there.
“Then at the next par five – the eighth – put myself out of position and took my medicine and made par.
“So playing the four par-fives in two under wasn???t so bad in the end.”