There aren’t many titles in golf that Rory McIlroy hasn’t won. He’s claimed three of the four majors, two WGCs and an additional 17 career wins. But, along with the Masters, he’s yet to win the ‘fifth major’, THE PLAYERS Championship.

And now the 29-year-old is determined to change that.

McIlroy said at the pre-tournament press conference: “This is my ninth time here so I’m not a spring chicken any more. It took me a few years to figure it out but I’ve had a few top 10s here and I think it is about time that I step up and give myself a chance on Sunday.

“I would love to add this event to my CV.”

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McIlroy’s fortunes at TPC Sawgrass have been mixed. From 2009 to 2012 he made his first three outings, all to a missed cut, but since then has rallied four top 15s and three top 10s in five years.

There’s been a clear improvement in McIlroy’s performances at this event over the years, and the world-number-eight is confident he knows why.

“It’s funny; I started staying on the beach a few years ago and that’s made the event a lot more enjoyable,” he admitted.

“I stayed on property at the hotel [in the early years] and felt I couldn’t get away from it. It’s busy and there’s a lot of people so to go and stay on the beach is a nice release from everything that’s going on around the event.

“A lot of players and sponsors and all sorts of people stay on site here and it can sometimes get a bit too much and you’re trying to make your way through the lobby and keep your head down so you don’t make eye contact with anyone.”

McIlroy tees off his opening round at TPC Sawgrass alongside world numbers two and four, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, today at 08:27am EDT.

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