The 25-year-old plays at Augusta knowing a victory would give him a Grand Slam of all four majors, a feat which has been achieved by just five players in the Masters era.
As the world number one, there will be a high level of expectation on McIlroy to challenge for a green jacket and he is the favourite across the board with the bookmakers.
???The first tee shot of this tournament is the only shot I get nervous about these days,??? he said. ???You get butterflies and your heart races a little bit. I still get that feeling that I did when I was a rookie.
???It???s a golf course that is very special not just to me and to the players that are playing this week, but to the game. Augusta National is a very special place and I???m just glad to be back.
???I???ve done a lot of work over the past couple of days to prepare and I???m looking forward to getting going now.???
McIlroy had his best Masters finish last year, tying for eighth but eight shots off eventual winner Bubba Watson.
He accepts he needs to perform better on the course???s four par-five holes and take fewer risks when in good positions.
???The hype and everything else feels the same because it???s always exciting to be here,??? he said. ???The one thing I learned from the first couple of years I played was that this course makes me a little bit tentative over iron shots.
???I had to learn to be more aggressive rather than looking at the pin and thinking about the places not to miss it.
???Last year I had six sixes and four were on par fives. Sometimes on par fives with my length I can be a little over-aggressive.
???If you turn two of those sixes into fours, all of a sudden I finish third in the tournament. You want to give yourself a decent chance of three but make sure you get a four.
???I???ve been thinking about the eagle rather than the birdie and if you look at the previous winners here they have all played the par fives well.???