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Highlights on Off The Ball

McIlroy has no plans to change team after dropping out of top ten

Rory McIlroy couldn't hide his frustration after a poor finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational ...

McIlroy has no plans to change...

McIlroy has no plans to change team after dropping out of top ten

Rory McIlroy couldn't hide his frustration after a poor finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational that saw him drop out of the world's top ten.

After his final round 76 at Bay Hill on Sunday the Ulsterman told reporters that he was "lacking a spark" before adding that he was "maybe looking to go in a different direction" leading many to think that he could make changes to his team.

McIlroy arrived at Sawgrass on Tuesday as the defending champion at The Players Championship and clarified the comments that he made on Sunday evening.

"I certainly didn't mean like a change of personnel per se," McIlroy told a pre-tournament press conference. "I think more a change in philosophy or maybe what I'm trying to work on, maybe going in a slightly different direction.

"Swing-wise I think there's some things that I'm working on that haven't quite bedded in or I'm struggling to grasp what I'm trying to do, so that's sort of what I meant, talking about going in a different direction."

Last year's edition of The Players Championship was cancelled after day one in response to the coronavirus pandemic so McIlroy will get another chance to defend the title he won in 2019 - something no golfer has done before.

The 31-year-old has struggled for form since golf resumed after the three month break last year, having arrived at Sawgrass in excellent form with four top-five finishes and sitting at the top of the world rankings.

McIlroy followed a promising opening round of 66 at the Arnold Palmer with rounds of 71, 72 and 76 saw him finish in a tie for tenth place while dropping out of the world's top ten for the first time in three years.

"It felt so good on Thursday and then felt off a little bit on the weekend, so it's like what happened, what changed, what is the difference," he said.

"I think that's where I've sort of struggled the last few weeks is that inconsistency of the good being very good, good enough to lead the golf tournament, but when it just gets slightly off, not being able to manage it.

"There's inconsistency in my ball-striking from day-to-day. On my approach play on Thursday, I gained nearly three shots on the field, and then Saturday I lost nearly three. It's just the inconsistency. It's not being able to manage the misses as well as I usually do.

"Everyone out here can play great golf and shoot 65s and 64s. It's when you're feeling a little off still being able to get it in in a couple under and not losing too much ground to the field.

"The good golf is in there, and I feel capable of going out and shooting good scores any week that I play on any golf course that I play, but it's the days where you don't feel so good that you need to manage it and get it around in a couple under par. That's the challenge for me right now."

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Arnold Palmer Invitational Rory McIlroy Sawgrass The Players Championship