With Tiger Woods absent through injury, the Irishman is the 10-1 frontrunner with leading bookmaker Paddy Power to win the first Major of the year.
He has been in a position of expectation at the Masters before, though, throwing away a four-shot lead on the final round three years ago and eventually carding an eight-over-par 80 to finish way back.
However, rather than let those memories haunt him, 24-year-old McIlroy has stressed that he has learned from them and without that painful experience, he may not have won either of his two Major titles to date - the 2011 US Open and 2012 USPGA Championship.
"I have no ill feelings towards 2011," he told reporters. "It was a very important day in my career. It was a big learning curve.
"I don't know if I had not had that day, whether I would be the person and the player I am sitting here. I learned exactly what not to do under pressure and contention and definitely learned how to handle my emotions better on the course."
McIlroy prepared for the Masters by finishing seventh at the Houston Open last week.