Miami - Squandering a late lead last weekend has taught Rory McIlroy a valuable lesson heading into this week's World Golf Championships at Doral and next month's Masters.
The 24-year-old Northern Irishman led through the first three rounds of the Honda Classic and most of the fourth, but took a double bogey at 16, a bogey at 17, missed an 11-foot eagle putt at 18 for the win and lost a playoff to Russell Henley.
"I was just disappointed with how I played coming down the stretch. It obviously wasn't what I would have liked," McIlroy said Wednesday.
"But plenty of positives. Getting myself in position to win. It was my third stroke-play event of the year and third chance to win.
"So if you keep giving yourself those chances, then hopefully learn from the mistakes, then you're going to eventually walk through the door and win and then when you get into the habit of it, it becomes a bit easier."
McIlroy will test himself against the world's best again this week at the $9 million WGC Cadillac Championship.
"I feel like my game is there to get into contention again this week and that's what I'll try and do," McIlroy said. "I've been in contention every time that I've teed it up (this year) so I'm happy with that."
McIlroy said he has firm plans should he be in the hunt again this weekend.
"I'm not saying that I felt uncomfortable, but I just maybe didn't make as committed swings as I should have at some points during the back nine last week," McIlroy said.
"But I know that, and if I get myself into that position again this week, I'll try and do a better job of seeing my shots and making more committed swings."
McIlroy finds Doral's Blue Monster course a vastly altered layout from last year, thanks to new owner Donald Trump's expensive revamp.
"You have a sense of the surroundings, but it is so different," McIlroy said.
"There's a lot of holes that have changed drastically and are nothing like what they were last year. So what they have done in a year is phenomenal. It just shows what you can do with a bit of hard work and a bit of cash."
Tiger Woods will play despite a back injury Sunday that forced him out of the Honda Classic.
Woods seems ever-present to McIlroy this week, although that's because he is staying at Doral's Tiger Woods Villa.
"There are pictures all over my room of him," McIlroy said. "I sent him a message last night: can't get away from you here, I can't go to the bathroom without looking at you.
"It's not like you're coming into the tournament thinking of one particular player, but obviously if Tiger's not 100 percent it makes it a little easier on the field for sure."