The Players Championship 2012
The Players Championship 2012, In the end, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood just couldnâ€™t resist.
The Nos. 1 and 3 players in the world are back in the Players Championship field this week after their â€śboycottâ€ť of the event last year.
A year ago, the pair was back in Europe sending out disparaging tweets while K.J. Choi won. Each said scheduling conflicts forced them to skip the Players, but it was easy to see the real reason their manager Chubby Chandler tried to pull a power play with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem in support of the European Tour.
McIlroy has since left Chandler, partly because of last yearâ€™s incident, while even Westwood admits heâ€™s back because, â€śI missed the Players Championship last year, watching it on television.â€ť
â€śYeah, I mean, looking back on it, it wasnâ€™t one of my brightest moments,â€ť the 23-year-old McIlroy admitted this week. â€śYeah, I mean, Iâ€™m glad to be back. Itâ€™s a tournament Iâ€™d love to win.â€ť
Itâ€™s also a tournament heâ€™s favored to win.
Tiger Woods is back searching for his game again, and on this course, where his record isnâ€™t stellar despite one victory, he is unlikely to find it. Masters champ Bubba Watson isnâ€™t playing so he can be back home with his wife and newly-adopted son. Phil Mickelson, another one-time champ, has to be super accurate off the tee to have a chance.
That leaves McIlroy in the favoriteâ€™s role even though he has missed the cut in his two appearances in 2009 and 2010.
At the time, the Irishman said Pete Dyeâ€™s Stadium Course simply didnâ€™t fit his eye.
â€śI donâ€™t like the course,â€ť McIlroy said as he talked his way out of contention in 2010. â€śVisually, itâ€™s very tough off the tee. It makes you feel uncomfortable because it looks like youâ€™ve only got a little bit of fairway to hit, but actually once you get up there, itâ€™s a little bit wider. Itâ€™s just very demanding visually.â€ť
McIlroy, however, must have learned something in his year off, mainly that strategy counts more than power. Heâ€™s put a 2-iron in the bag this week to lay back on some of the holes and have better angles in. (New York Daily News)
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