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Rory McIlroy looking forward to Sawgrass test

“Looking back on it, it wasn’t one of my brightest moments. I mean, I’m glad to be back.”

McIlroy faces the press room at Sawgrass earlier.
McIlroy faces the press room at Sawgrass earlier.
Image: Getty images

RORY MCILROY, WHO holds the current world number one ranking, believes The Players Championship has the same prestige as the Masters and the British Open when it is played at St Andrews in Scotland.

“There are a few special courses, the Masters obviously, here, when the British Open goes to St Andrews,” said McIlroy, who skipped The Players Championship last year at TPC Sawgrass. ”Looking back on it, it wasn’t one of my brightest moments. I mean, I’m glad to be back.

“(The prestige of this tournament) … it’s a huge part of the week. You have places like Colonial (host of the Crowne Plaza Invitational) places with a lot of history, but the main three (tournaments) are Masters, here and St Andrews when the Open goes there.

“I don’t know what the perception is amongst the other players, but for me it’s a very big tournament and one I’d like to win one day.”

Former world number one Tiger Woods meanwhile has one sole focus this week — improving his game. Woods, a winner of 14 major titles, is only rated as an outside chance to win the tournament unofficially known as the fifth major of the PGA Tour. The American, who has won just one PGA Tour event since 2009, missed the cut at last week’s Wells Fargo Championship.

And prior to that, he could only manage a 40th-placed finish at the US Masters at Augusta.

“Unfortunately the last two tournaments I played in weren’t that great,” Woods said today. ”No big deal, I’ll just keep working and work towards this week.  I think it’s a process. I’ve said this various times — you keep building. There are certain times when you take great strides forward and others when you take a stride or two backwards.

“That’s the whole idea of going through a process. As we all know golf is a work in process. I just need to keep working and trying to get better,” he added.

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