Can Rory McIlroy sing his way to first win of the year at Sawgrass?

Adele helped him to US Open glory in 2011, and he's feeling perfectly tuned for Sawgrass test

Sawgrass

Should Rory McIlroy contend for the first time at the one tournament that has confounded him during his rapid ascent to the golf summit, the Players Championship, don't be surprised if he breaks into music on the final green here at Sawgrass on Sunday.

McIlroy revealed how recourse to that time honoured terrace rebuke, "You only sing when you're winning", was given fresh application during the march to his first major victory at the US Open at Congressional two years ago. Pop chanteuse Adele was the unlikely muse behind that success, providing the soundtrack to victory with her 2011 hit Rolling in the Deep.

"I didn't sing it quite as well as her, but it played every morning on the radio, so it was a song stuck in my head that week," said McIlroy, who has become a reference point in golf. His thoughts are sought on the hot topic of the day, whether it be a golfing matter or the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Sorry David Moyes, McIlroy would prefer Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford.

He arrives at golf's richest event in the best shape of the year, in command once more of his considerable golfing faculties and those between his ears. It was the power of the psyche, and how he learned to control it, that produced the Adele affiliation. Adam Scott's victory at the Masters last month after his collapse at the Open last year mirrored McIlroy's own redemption song at Congressional following the epic collapse at Augusta eight weeks earlier.

"For me the Masters was a completely new experience, and new feelings, feelings that I had never felt before," McIlroy added. "I learned a lot from that afternoon in terms of, 'okay, what are you going to do differently?' What are you going to do not to have that happen again? Do you try to think of something else? Do you sing a song? Whatever you do, everyone treats it differently. I am sure Adam thinks differently to me. For me it was just staying in the present; the only thing you can control is that next shot and that is something I had to learn."

A win in 2013 eludes him and Sawgrass offers a stiff test of his new attitude. "This is a tricky golf course. You have to think your way around it, be strategic," said McIlroy who turned 24 last week. With each birthday he adds a layer of hard-earned experience and is further removed from the folly of youth. "The first year I came here I was in Vegas the week before. The second year was my 21st birthday. That didn't help. Last year I didn't have an excuse. I just didn't play well."

McIlroy shares top billing with Tiger Woods, another in a serious vein of form. Woods is grouped with defending champion Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker in the prime time east coast TV slot this afternoon. McIlroy has that honour tomorrow. Today he is out early alongside Scott and Steve Stricker. Woods' only victory here came in 2001 at the height of his phenomenal mid-20s peak. Last time out at the Masters he was a bad break at the 15th on Friday from leading the tournament outright.

With three victories already this season, Woods is threatening to recover the aura he displayed 12 years ago when he won here by a stroke from Vijay Singh, who is making headlines of his own again in rather more controversial circumstances. Woods' return to the epicentre of the game co-incides with the love of a good woman. His relationship with skier Lindsey Vonn took him to the red carpet in New York on Monday, territory alien to him in his first flowering.

Woods was happy to put that billion-dollar smile at the disposal of Vonn at the Met Gala event to promote her new cosmetics line. He bounced into Sawgrass for four holes on Tuesday and shared jokes with reporters afterwards about his naff fashion sense. This is a side of Woods hitherto unseen and richly rewarding given what has come before.

Woods, like McIlroy, is not necessarily favoured here – a course that rewards those that can duck and weave. One such is Graeme McDowell, who is coming fresh from victory at the Heritage at Hilton Head a fortnight ago. McDowell put that success down to a relaxed approach after missing the cut at the Masters. He took two houses and brought friends and family to share his success in South Carolina and subsequently celebrated his win with a holiday in the Bahamas.

If living the life is the new way to prepare for tournaments, McDowell comes here bettered prepared than ever. "I feel like the win has charged me up inside. It felt right, like I was ready."

Singh takes PGA to court over spray penalty

Vijay Singh hit the PGA Tour with a lawsuit a week after being cleared of any wrong-doing following doping allegations associated with deer antler spray.

Singh believes his reputation has been damaged after he was initially given an undisclosed penalty by the Tour after admitting using a supplement containing IGF-1. The tour was subsequently advised by the World Anti Doping Agency (Wada), that the substance was no longer outlawed.

"Rather than performing its duties to golfers first, and then determining whether there had been any violation of the anti-doping program, the PGA Tour rushed to judgment," the suit claimed.

Kevin Garside

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on