McIlroy eyes Augusta after Players Championship success

Rory McIlroy is hopeful his victory at The Players Championship will provide the fuel he needs to complete a career Grand Slam at the Masters.

The Northern Irishman will head to Augusta next month as the leading contender for glory after his success at Sawgrass, where a final-round 70 saw him finish one stroke ahead of Jim Furyk.

The four-time major winner had not prevailed on the PGA Tour since his triumph at the Arnold Palmer Invitational 365 days ago and he acknowledged the value of Sunday’s success heading to the Masters.

“If I hadn’t have won I would have said I don’t need a win going into Augusta, but it’s very nice to get a win, especially doing it on this golf course,” he told Sky Sports.

“Honestly a golf course that will play a little bit similar to the way Augusta will play in a few weeks’ time, so I can take a lot from this.

“It’s taken me a few weeks to get to this point but I’m playing some of the best golf of my life right now and I just need to keep going with it and keep doing the same things.”

McIlroy emerged from a star-studded field that was headed by Jon Rahm going into the final round, but the Spaniard and playing partner Tommy Fleetwood could not match McIlroy’s efforts.

Indeed, Rahm’s 76 showed the difficulties of the course and conditions, but that was something McIlroy enjoyed.

“I almost liked today because it was tough,” he told the PGA Tour. “I knew that guys weren’t going to get away from us.

“Even when I doubled on four, I knew it was a similar start to what I had yesterday, I knew there were some chances coming up so I just stayed as patient as I possibly could.

“Any time I looked at the leaderboard I was pleasantly surprised that I hadn’t fallen two or three shots behind. That gave me a little bit of encouragement to keep going and play a great back nine.”