Rory McIlroy searching for 'spark' after dropping out of world's top 10

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy's final-round 76 saw him finish tied for 10th at Bay Hill

Rory McIlroy says he is "lacking a spark" after dropping out of the world top 10 following a poor final round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The Northern Irishman dropped to 11th in the world rankings after a four-over 76 at Bay Hill on Sunday left him eight shots behind winner Bryson DeChambeau.

"I need something, I need a spark - I need something and I just don't seem to have it," McIlroy, 31, told Sky Sports.

"Some days it's good, some days it's not."

McIlroy, whose last win was in November 2019, will arrive at The Players Championship at Sawgrass this week as defending champion as preparations for next month's Masters continue.

Having entered the final round at Bay Hill firmly in contention, McIlroy's challenge disintegrated with a double bogey at the sixth, where he twice hit his tee shot into water.

"There was some good parts this week again," said McIlroy, who has not won a major since 2014.

"Some stuff that I don't know how to describe, but just a little dejected or maybe looking to go in a different direction."

McIlroy's disappointing conclusion to the week was at least improved by the presence of fans, with Bay Hill operating at 25% capacity over the four days.

Those spectators were treated to a tight conclusion with US Open champion DeChambeau holding off England's Lee Westwood.

"I'm really happy that we played this week in this sort of atmosphere and this environment, I've missed this a lot," said McIlroy, who needs to win at Augusta to complete the career grand slam.

"Even though it's only 25% capacity this week, it feels so much more than that and it's great to play in front of that. I'm looking forward to doing it again next week.

"I think we're all sort of now seeing a light at the end of the tunnel where things can at least get back to some sort of normality pretty soon. But I can't believe it's been a year."

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