Rory McIlroy keen to add Players Championship title to glittering CV

Rory McIlroy tied for 16th place at last week's Wells Fargo Championship
Rory McIlroy tied for 16th place at last week's Wells Fargo Championship

Rory McIlroy believes he is ready to win one of the few big titles missing from his impressive CV when he competes in this week's Players Championship at Sawgrass.

The 29-year-old's first attempts to win golf's so-called 'fifth major' resulted in three straight missed cuts.

Since then the Northern Irishman has finished eighth, sixth, eighth and 12th before a tie for 35th place last year.

"It took me a few years to figure it out," admitted the world number eight.

As well as winning four major titles, McIlroy has claimed two World Golf Championship events and four FedEx Cup play-off tournaments, with his victory in the 2016 Tour Championship giving him the overall title and a $10m bonus.

He admits his feelings about the course and the tournament have improved markedly over the years, telling a pre-tournament news conference: "It's funny. I started staying on the beach a few years ago and that's made the event a lot more enjoyable.

"I was a little stubborn the first few years I came here and was trying to break away from that, but you just have to play this golf course a certain way and be a little bit better than everyone else with your irons and your wedges.

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

"It took me a few years to figure it out but I've had a few top 10s here and I think it is about time that I step up and give myself a chance on Sunday. I would love to add this event to my CV."

Career grand slam proves elusive

McIlroy endured just the second winless season of his career in 2017 and although victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational ensured that would not happen again this year, he failed to complete the career grand slam in the Masters last month.

After closing to within a shot of the leader Patrick Reed early in the final round, McIlroy struggled to a closing 74 at Augusta National, but is refusing to be downbeat about the outcome.

"We've got the other three major championships, there's a lot of golf to play and we're not even halfway through the season," McIlroy added.

"It was disappointing I didn't get the result I wanted but I took a lot of positives from the fact that I didn't have my best stuff at Augusta and I was still able to play my way into the final group and contend.

"All I wanted to do this year was give myself chances. It wasn't about results. If I can put myself in the final group of some other events coming up I'll have some recent experience (to learn from) and I'll deal with it a bit better."

Meanwhile England's Paul Casey has withdrawn from the tournament with a back injury, his place in the 144-man field being taken by American Kevin Mitchell.