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Rory McIlroy is all business as he looks to tame TPC beast

James Corrigan

Published 08/05/2014 | 02:30

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits a bunker shot during a practice round ahead of The Players Championship on The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits a bunker shot during a practice round ahead of The Players Championship on The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

The last player to arrive at Sawgrass hopes to be the last to leave. Rory McIlroy waited until yesterday afternoon to arrive, happy to be under the world No1 radar as he tries a relaxed route on a layout to which he has only recently started to warm.

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The Northern Irishman cancelled his pre-tournament media commitments, electing instead to spend the time working on his game at the Bear's Club in his adopted American home town of West Palm Beach.

After finishing eighth last week in Charlotte – his ninth top-10 in his past 11 strokeplay tournaments – McIlroy understandably believes he is close to winning again and is keen on his chances after ending a run of three missed cuts here by coming eighth last year.

"The TPC is growing on me," he said last month. "I actually have looked forward to going there in the last couple of years."

OVERDUE

With no British or Irish winner since Sandy Lyle 27 years ago, a win is overdue. Luke Donald should fancy his chances, the 2005 runner-up having recorded two top-six finishes in the past three years.

Lee Westwood finished alongside McIlroy last year and fourth in 2011 and if he can forget last week's missed cut and feed off his triumph in Malaysia three weeks ago he could be a factor. However, Ian Poulter, second in 2009, is suffering from a virus.

Meanwhile, the future of the World Golf Championship Matchplay Championship seems ever more uncertain after it emerged that it will not have its traditional February spot next year and will not take place before the Players Championship.

The PGA Tour is in talks with potential sponsors after Accenture pulled out and it is a remote possibility that the event takes a year off. Tucson could still be the host city, but it is likely that a new venue will be found. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP, LIVE, SKY SPORTS 4, 6.0

Irish Independent

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