Miami - Rory McIlroy believes that tying the knot can give
his golf game a lift as he prepares for an assault on the $10.5 million Players
Championship in Florida this week.
World number two McIlroy, who split from tennis star
Caroline Wozniacki in 2014 after sending out wedding invites, married
girlfriend Erica Stoll last month at a ceremony in Ireland.
The 28-year-old Northern Ireland ace told reporters in
Florida on Tuesday the wedding was "the best weekend of my life."
McIlroy, who also confirmed a new long-term clubs and ball
deal with US giant TaylorMade, said he hoped the calm in his private life would
boost his game.
"It seems like everything's very settled. There's not
really many question marks going on in my life right now," McIlroy said.
"I feel like everything's exactly where it's meant to
be, and if you feel like that off the golf course, then I can only imagine that
it will help you on it."
Yet McIlroy said there was no chance of marriage dimming his
"My mentality on the golf course I feel will just be
the same," he said. "It might help me get over tough losses a little
"I don't know, I'll have to tell you when the time
comes, but I'm in a great place in my life and I feel very settled and very
lucky to be in this position. Now it's just about trying to make the most of, I
guess, the fortune that I've had."
The 28-year-old four-time major champion has never won at
TPC Sawgrass, where the winner will take home a cheque of $1.89 million, making
it one of the most lucrative events on the PGA Tour.
McIlroy said the challenging par-72 layout invariably caused
him to curb his natural aggressive instincts.
"This is a golf course where I've had to rein in my
game over the years," McIlroy said. "I missed my first three cuts
here, and then since that I've had four pretty good finishes. I think my worst
has been 12th in the last four years.
"I've definitely limited the amount of drivers I've
hit. I've always felt that driving is a big advantage for me if I can drive the
ball well - but it just doesn't let me do that here."
Defending champion Jason Day meanwhile is hoping that a return
to the course where he claimed his last PGA event a year ago can help him end
an alarming title drought.
The 29-year-old Australian said he was close to burnout last
year as the pressure of defending his world number one ranking took hold.
"I could sense that being No 1 and all that stuff was
getting pretty hard mentally more so than physically ... the expectations, and
it's very, very easy to get burnt out in a sense," Day said.
"So I would love to win every week. But unfortunately,
it's very, very difficult to do."
Day believes his game over the closing holes will decide his
quest to become the first back-to-back Players champion in the history of the
"I think what won me the tournament last year was I
played the back nine probably better than most, probably best out of everyone
in the field last year," he said. "I think that's what holds the key
to winning around this golf course is playing the back nine best."