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Rory McIlroy has a hate-love relationship with The Players

10 May, 2018, 14:26 | Author: Hannah Francis
  • Justin Thomas

As per usual, last year's Players Championship was filled with plenty of drama. "We'll play for whatever makes him uncomfortable".

Starting on the 12th hole of the first round, he went birdie-bogey-bogey-bogey-eagle-birdie-bogey to cap off a 73. But the course is in great shape, and obviously I've got a pretty good grouping, so I'm excited to start and get going.

"And it sucked to have to play against him. I've played well in spurts there and I'm really looking forward to getting there and doing a little homework on the golf course", Woods said.

"I certainly go back and take a look at those moments, that was a pretty good run back then", he said at his pre-tournament press conference.

Thomas scrolled through his phone to find the message. The only thing I need to work on is putting. "And weeks like last week, that's why you'll get 19 holes and make one par".

"It feels like a better year", he said.

So what gives? Has his strategy improved each year? He has yet to finish worse than a tie for 22nd in his nine individual tournaments. No man has ever defended the Players Championship title and despite his recent upturn in form, his odds of 101-1 underlines the challenge facing the young Korean this week. And you know Pete Dye is over there, hiding in a Palmetto going, "Heh, heh, heh", like a bad villain in a golf cartoon. "Just wait for something good to happen". I've got a few years under my belt, and it took me a few years to figure it out, but I've had a few top-10s here and I haven't been quite right in contention but I've been close enough.

MICKELSON'S MOTIVATION: Phil Mickelson won for the 43rd time on the PGA Tour with his playoff victory in the Mexico Championship.

"I didn't like it that much, [but] I like it a lot [now]", McIlroy said.




"This is my ninth time here so I'm not a spring chicken any more".

And no, he doesn't feel he's done yet.

Get the latest World Cup news updates.

He doesn't see himself retiring any time soon.

"I don't want to lose it", Johnson said of No. 1.

He says his swing got knocked around in the wind last week, and that he started hitting big hooks, so he has been working hard with coach Col Swatton. I've been rolling it well, I just haven't been making any putts. "So if I want to keep it, I have to play well".

Woods is around a 33/1 betting outsider at the TPC Sawgrass, a course where he twice has won the PGA Tour's flagship event - in 2001 and again in 2013.Though he contended twice on the PGA Tour in Florida less than two months ago, subsequent mediocre performances at the US Masters and, last week, at the Wells Fargo Championship have diminished his stock. He has missed the cut in four of his eight starts. But he did at the Masters. "I think it's about time I step up and give myself a chance on Sunday".

"The first time you get on some Pete Dye courses they're very unusual and they set you up at wrong angles, and visually they're just a little bit not what you want to see, but you learn to deal with it and play the way he wants you to play".

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