Rory McIlroy won The Players Championship, labeled as the & # 39; unofficial & # 39; fifth major, 12 months ago
Rory McIlroy hopes to make history this weekend by being the first player to win the Players Championship in Sawgrass two years in a row.
McIlroy returned to number one in the world last month and made seven consecutive top-five PGA Tour finishes at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The Northern Irishman defeated Jim Furyk with one shot to secure the title. last year.
"This week last year was huge for me to keep the monkey a little bit off me," said the 30-year-old.
"I would have had a few close calls and couldn't walk through the door and claim a win.
" I was able to do it here and had a great year and a few more times won. "
The four-time winner added:" There are many similarities between this year and last year in terms of how I played the first few events of the year.
"I gave myself a few chances, didn't really take advantage of it and it would be great to replicate what happened last year.
& # 39; It sure is a chance. I don't think you ever need extra motivation when you come to this tournament, but to be the first to defend here would be really cool. "
& # 39; Missing the cut and fake ID & # 39;
Recalling his tournament debut in 2009, when he had just turned twenty a few days earlier, McIlroy added, "The first year I played here, the weekend before I was in Vegas for a fight and then probably not preparing me
"I missed the cut and was eventually thrown out of the bars in Jax [Jacksonville] Beach because I had a fake ID. So I have come a long way! "
McIlroy, who finished fifth in last week's tournament, joined Tiger Woods as the only players in the past 20 years to achieve seven consecutive top-five finishes on the PGA Tour, a series dating back to last season, including two wins.
& # 39; Good Top Five and Bad & # 39;
The 2014 Open winner admits, however, that there are good top five and bad, with the Bay Hill Sundays being in the latter category.
"I'd say last week was a bad top five," McIlroy added. "I took advantage of a good draw, i came out early thursday morning and shot 66 and hung more or less the rest of the week.
"There are other weeks when you just don't even hang around anyway and just hang there, struggle all week and scrape around in 70 or 69 for four days and finally finish T5.
" I finished last year fifth at Torrey Pines and I swear it was one of the best top five I've ever had. I walked away from that week because I thought I couldn't squeeze anything out of my golf by the end of the week. "
Rory McIlroy signs autographs after a practice round in Sawgrass
Celebrated 100 weeks as world number one
McIlroy has now spent a total of 100 weeks as world number one and although that is still far from Tiger Woods & # 39 ; record of 683, he is understandably delighted to be back in first place since September 2015.
"I am very proud to think that I spent two years of my career at the top of the world rankings," added McIlroy.
"I can't fathom 683 (weeks), it's incredible. I don't think anyone can speak high enough about what Tiger was doing on that piece of golf. It's just insane.
" The way I got to number one this time was kind of an anticlimax, I got it above all through a math algorithm, but still made sure I was celebrating the milestone.
"On the Sunday evening at Riviera I made sure I had a few drinks with Harry (Diamond, his caddy) and some of my friends, especially for Harry because he took over mid 2017 and we are on that journey from injuries and didn't play my best all the way back to the top of the world. "