Rory McIlroy ready to dominate golf again after Players Championship win

Rory McIlroy ready to dominate golf again after Players Championship win

The Players Stadium Course can take as quickly as it gives, and the forecast was for much stronger wind - compared with very little on Saturday (Sunday NZT) - and cooler weather.

- Jon Rahm felt like every shot would be good and a lot of them were as he posted an 8-under 64 on Saturday and built a one-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood in the Players Championship.

The Englishman - who led last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational before eventually finishing tied for third - suffered a double-bogey six on the first hole and was three over for his round after taking five at both the fourth and seventh.

At the end of a pulsating final round that was so many things, all of them good or great, Rory McIlroy emerged as the Players champion for 2019.

McIlroy's first win in 366 days ago came at the expense of a host of players hoping to win the PGA Tour's showcase event.

"Why was he not converting such consistency into success" was the cry from the analysts who instead of acknowledging just what he was achieving were keen to pick his seeming inability to win to pieces.

McIlroy did his best to skirt the topic of Masters prospects in his press conference Sunday night, opting to focus on the trophy sitting next to him rather than the only one still missing from his resumé.

His victory moved him to 4th in the world ranking and a return to the top spot may come sooner, rather than later. His title at the Players made him the betting favourite in Augusta.

Though McIlroy's round was another chalk-and-cheese display with the shortest club in bag having posted just 27 putts, including eight one-putts.

"I think it was a culmination of all those experiences and I felt more comfortable each time and today I liked the fact it was tough".

McIlroy was aware of the discussion about his supposed inability to finish events off but was determined not to buy into it.

I know I'd love that.

McIlory's putting has certainly improved in recent times courtesy of the assistance of one of the best putters of all time, Brad Faxon, but he was keen to acknowledge the support of his whole team rather than just one individual. And I think that's been the big difference between the highs and lows of the last few years and the more consistent play, even over the last 12 months. And I really, I don't mind it. After shooting 67-65 to share the midway lead with Tommy Fleetwood, McIlroy closed with a pair of 70s to earn his 15th career PGA Tour victory.

"I hit some terrible shots early on", said the affable 28-year-old from Southport near Liverpool.

"I really liked the state of my game, the way I was playing".

"I'm excited the way I drove it".

The American said: "I fought hard on the back nine and I just wish I had been able to put that same score on the front nine, then I would have got myself near that lead".

"One thing that I used to do in the past is I let what I shot that day influence who I was or my mood".

"It was just a grind, " he said. On the next two holes, he claimed birdies off an outstanding bunker shot from 180 feet out and a whopping 347-yard drive, the longest of the final round.

"The good too after what happened last week this is a new week and that's the great thing about golf". It'll be a confidence boost going forward. "It's very nice to get a win".

Cameron Smith rounded out the Australian contingent and the World No.24 signed for a 71 to finish golf's unofficial fifth major with a two-under total.

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