McIlroy seeks Sawgrass redemption
May 9th 2012, Florida, U.S.A.: Rory McIlroy starts his third spell as world number one this week by returning to the event he turned his back on last year.
"Looking back it wasn't one of my brightest moments," said the 23-year-old on Tuesday after arriving at Sawgrass for the £5.8 million Players Championship, golf's richest tournament."
McIlroy missed the halfway cut on his two previous visits to the PGA Tour's showpiece and has yet to break par on it.
He once said: "I don't like the golf course for a start."
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland
"It's personal preference - some guys love Sawgrass and some guys don't like it so much."
Now the Northern Irishman declares himself "glad to be back", insisting: "For me it's a very big tournament and it's a tournament that I'd love to win one day".
He is hoping to go one better than last week, when he lost a play-off to Rickie Fowler.
"It gave me a bit of confidence for my first week back after a little (three-week) break," he said. "It was good to get into the play-off, but I would love to have that second shot back."
After Fowler had hit his approach to four feet on the first extra hole McIlroy pushed his more than 20 feet wide and par was not good enough.
"I was in between clubs and went with the wedge instead of the sand wedge. Looking back on it - hindsight is a great thing - I didn't really have anything to lose with Rickie being in there close."
Few would argue with McIlroy being top of the rankings again given that he has had only two finishes outside the top five in 15 starts since last August, but he still finds himself baffled by the system.
"If you go onto the website there's a page on it where it explains," he told one writer.
"I still don't understand it, but I don't think many other people do either. I think it's a good indication."
Pressed on what goes into becoming number one he said: "Wins, consistency, majors and scoring average - I think I'm number one in that as well!"
The US Open champion has replaced his five-wood with a two-iron to try to find a better way round Sawgrass.
"I'll hit it a lot off the tee just to try and keep it in play. I don't mind sacrificing distance as long as you're hitting from the fairways here."
"Hitting three-woods on some of these holes it still goes a little too far. I don't mind going into a green with a seven iron instead of a nine iron."
While McIlroy was boosted by coming so close last week, Tiger Woods missed the cut and now enters an arena where he has had to pull out injured on his last two trips.
A year ago he limped through nine holes in a six-over-par 42 before withdrawing and did not play again until August.
But far from suffering a crisis of confidence over his last two performances - like McIlroy he was only 40th in The Masters - Woods said: "No big deal. I've done this (change his swing) before and got on some pretty good runs after that."
"I've got two wins in the last 12 months. That's not too bad."
"Unfortunately the last two tournaments I've played in weren't that great. We'll just continue working and try and put it together this week."
He plays with Fowler and Hunter Mahan, the only player to win twice on the PGA Tour this season, in the opening two rounds on Thursday and Friday, while McIlroy partners Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker.
Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, second and third in the world, will tee off together with Bill Haas.
|Indian Golf League III - Grand Finale Report 27 Apr 2012|
|PHOTO GALLERY VIDEO CAPSULE - PART 1 VIDEO CAPSULE - PART 2 VIDEO CAPSULE read more..|
|MTS & 4moles.com develop an Innovative Mobile App 21 Mar 2012|
|~App To Run On Specially Configured MTS Smartphones During Panasonic Open Ind read more..|
|2012 Schedules for Asian Tour announced 01 Feb 2012|
|February 1st 2012, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: The Asian Tour has announced its f read more..|
|Tiger Woods admits to pay for play 24 Jan 2012|
|January 24th 2012, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Tiger Woods ack read more..|