Miami - World number one Rory McIlroy, looking to bounce back after missing the cut at last week's US PGA event, is more confident entering this week's World Golf Championships event at Doral.
The 25-year-old from Northern Ireland has regained confidence after practice rounds ahead of the WGC Cadillac Championship and a victory in Seminole Golf Club's Pro-Member outing Monday where he fired a 63 on his own ball.
"I guess it shows my game is there," McIlroy said of his victory alongside playing partner John Pinkham at a club where he would often play once a week in younger days.
"It's nice to have my name on the board," McIlroy said after starting with three birdies against a world-class field.
McIlroy shot 73 and 74 to stand seven-over par at PGA National last week to miss the cut at the Honda Classic, unhappy with how he played in blustery conditions in his first US PGA start of the season.
"I just struggled a litle bit in the wind last week but feel like I've rectified that since then," McIlroy said, citing weekend practice rounds and his Seminole success.
"I felt the last few days have been productive. I feel like I'm in a better place than I was a week ago."
McIlroy, who won last month at Dubai, was also coming off a three-week break last week.
"There were some things going in that weren't sharp enough and I went and worked on those and hopefully it won't happen again this week," McIlroy said.
"It wasn't a bad thing. I was disappointed but hopefully it will help me going into the next few weeks."
The major focus for McIlroy is next month's Masters, where he hopes to win his third consecutive major title and take his first green jacket to complete a career Grand Slam.
McIlroy, who had not missed a cut on US soil since the 2012 US Open, admitted he was upset when he departed the course last Friday knowing his tournament was over.
Asked if he would have kicked a cat, McIlroy replied, "If I had one, I would have," then added, "No, that's animal cruelty. I'll retract that."
But he was able to enjoy his mother's birthday last Friday and sneak in some practice around weekend storms that forced a Monday finish at the PGA event, eventually won in a playoff by Irishman Padraig Harrington.
"If I was going to miss a weekend, that wasn't a bad one to miss," McIlroy admitted. "I was able to work on my game.
"I decided to get back at it this week and hope it's better than last week. Looking forward to getting out there."
In a field that features the top 50 players in the world rankings, McIlroy tees off Thursday morning alongside world number two Bubba Watson, the reigning Masters champion, and third-ranked Henrik Stenson of Sweden.
McIlroy finished a career-best third at Doral in 2012 but was 25th a year ago. Watson finished second at Doral in 2012 and 2014 and a month later on both occasions won Masters crowns at Augusta National.
The players ranked fourth through sixth in the world are together as well with Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott joined by US veteran Jim Furyk.