McIlroy returns with a wedding ring and new clubs in the bag

McIlroy returns with a wedding ring and new clubs in the bag

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson and No. 2 Rory McIlroy form a star-studded pairing for the first two rounds of The Players Championship on Thursday and Friday at TPC Sawgrass.

Johnson finished tied for second last week when he returned to competition at the Wells Fargo Championship following an injury that forced him to withdraw from the Masters.

Day left last year's Players Championship as a runaway world number one, but he has not won since, so he had reason to feel half pleased with his performance, if not with the rocky finish. "The game is in really good shape".

"I haven't had a lot of success here and it's definitely a challenge, but my game has gotten a lot better (since 2016)".

"I t's something I've struggled with a couple of times in my career", McIlroy said in a pre-tournament press conference. "But I just have a feeling that not a lot of guys are going to do it".

"But I feel like I'm starting to play this golf course a little bit better". There have been some renovations done since previous year. "We like the date change, we like the position on the schedule and we like what it does for our ability to set up the golf course and for television". "You've got to have all facets of your game working if you want to contend".

Johnson's long-driving skills will help him on several holes but he calls the course an ultimate test of every club in the bag.

Will DJ hit a tee shot into the water on 17?

"If you do hit a shot to the green and you pull it, you can drop it up there and try and get up-and-down".

Johnson, who had been a runaway favorite at Augusta National last month, said he doesn't play a what-if game about how he might have fared at the Masters - whether he could have won the green jacket, which went to Spain's Sergio Garcia, had he not slipped on stairs and fallen. I'm expecting to play well this week. "I know what's going to happen around this place".

He's had more lows than highs during his 11 appearances at The Players, but he seems to have gotten more comfortable over time.

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Although Day hasn't won since he went wire-to-wire in 2016, fellow competitors are wary that he could break the jinx.

Fowler quieted critics with a THE PLAYERS victory in 2015, although he remains in search of his first major title.

"I think you go off of results, " Spieth, a two-time major victor, said.

"I think that it's going to depend", Sergio Garcia agreed.

As always, there are plenty of ways to attack DraftKings daily fantasy golf. "I try to have fun out there and really enjoy it, try not to let anything bother me". The Stadium Course has one of the most iconic golf holes in the world, the par-3 17th island hole.

"I'm a person that can't do four million things at once, and that's what it feels like when you're at the top.it just feels like you're getting pulled in all sorts of directions and it feels like you're suffocating sometimes".

"It's obviously pretty special to come back as defending champion", Day said, who is coming off the back of a missed cut in the Zurich Classic teams event with Rickie Fowler. That's enough for me to take him at 100/1. "I got my guy!"

Johnson said he also gets the thrills and excitement other players show more outwardly.

"It still needs some work to get it right", said Billy Horschel, who lives just down the road from TPC Sawgrass. If you can overlook the time off, and the emotional fatigue, there's nothing that should keep you off the Spaniard this week.

"Two good yardages, two good shots and two good putts", he said after becoming the sixth player to record two eagles on the back nine in the same round at The Players.

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