Rory McIlroy has a hate-love relationship with The Players

Rory McIlroy has a hate-love relationship with The Players

Johnson is 16th in Putts Per Round (28.20) this season, and that will pay big dividends on the tricky putting surfaces in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. May. Spieth is playing with Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy, a star attraction at any tournament except maybe one that has Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler in the same group.

In addition to the coin Vegas plans to use this week, Rosland Capital will give fans attending the tournament - Wednesday through Sunday - the chance to win a 1.5-oz silver specimen coin. "I put myself in the final group of the first major of the year and it didn't quite work out, but if I can put myself in the final group of some other events coming up, then hopefully I'll have some recent experience and I'll deal with it a bit better".

Paul Casey has withdrawn from the 2018 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass with a bad back, which means all of the top 50 players in the world will not actually play this week. "It's sort of I stayed pretty much on property there at the - at that hotel, and I just felt like I couldn't get away from it, and it's busy and there's a lot of people, and so to go and stay on the beach now, it's a nice sort of release from everything that's going on around the event". But a December battle with mononucleosis, which left him bedridden for days and lingered for two weeks, hindered his preparation in the gym and on the golf course, and he's been battling to catch up ever since.

Attitude is everything in golf, especially on this Pete Dye-designed course created on land that used to be a swamp. "So if I want to keep it, I have to play well". Now, he's found a much more relaxing atmosphere at the beach.

McIlroy is not alone in his struggles.

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Just six golfers have won the PLAYERS multiple times. He tied for fourth that year. And that was the last time he played on the weekend at Sawgrass. "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.

The 40-year-old finished tied for fifth last week at the Wells Fargo Championship. Even more remarkable for the No. 1 player in the world is that he has shot in the 60s just three times in 30 rounds.

Rory McIlroy is turning his disappointing Masters finale into a positive as he prepares to tee off in the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday. The Aussie won the Players in 2016, firing a course record 63 on his way to victory.

He also missed the cut with Ryan Palmer in the team event at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans in his last start, where Spieth hit shots into the water on the last two holes in the second round and they missed the cut by one shot. He has finished out of the top 20 in just over half his appearances, some of those when he was the most dominant player in golf.

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