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McIlroy plays a shot from the 17th tee during a practice round prior to the 2018 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

The Englishman has enjoyed a golden run of form recently, highlighted by ending a nine-year winless spell on Tour at the Valspar Championship in March and a total of 21 top-20 finishes from his last 26 worldwide starts.

This will allow him for unlimited sponsor exemptions for the remainder of the season and if he finishes inside the top-125 of the FedExCup points standing, he will become the first Thai to earn a PGA Tour card. A tie for sixth in 2014 remains the closest that he has come to adding the so-called fifth major and the $1.98 million (about £1.46 million) first prize to his collection of four major titles. "Yeah, a few - I mean, it's amusing, like I started staying on the beach a few years ago, and that's made the event a lot more enjoyable. But now it's more like ... if I remained No 2 and won majors, and was No 1 for a long time and won six, I'd take the first one".

"We've always had a mutual respect over the years, and I've always appreciated what he's done for the game of golf", added Mickelson. All I wanted to do this year was to give myself chances, it wasn't about results. Woods, 42, finished in a tie for seventh when the Scottish venue hosted the 1999 Open, then joint 12th in 2007.

McIlroy failed to capitalise on a strong position heading into the final round at Augusta last month, slipping out of contention with a 74 that left him six shots adrift of eventual victor Patrick Reed.

"This golf course negates a lot of different things".

"So, yeah, it gives you motivation". In just his second appearance at TPC Sawgrass, South Korea's Si Woo Kim overcame a two-shot deficit on Sunday with a final-round 69 to become the youngest victor in tournament history at 21 years of age.

Jason Day hits out of the rough on seven during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament at Quail Hollow Club.

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. He struggled around the greens and if he can get his putter to work, the two-time Players champion could indeed threaten the field. "I think I've got some demons to exorcise", said a candid Lahiri. "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".

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