Rory McIlroy haunted by water in disastrous start at Players Championship

This isn’t “the spark” Rory McIlroy was after.

McIrloy was hoping for a strong start to The Players Championship after he floundered out of contention with a final round 75 at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Instead, McIlroy shot a 43 on his first nine holes at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday, starting the prestigious tournament on the back nine. McIlroy opened with a double bogey on No. 10, but was only 3-over par heading into No. 18 when disaster struck.

McIlroy went in the water twice on the dangerous finishing hole, to make a quadruple-bogey eight.

“I don’t know what the word is or how to describe it, but just a little dejected,” McIlroy said after the Arnold Palmer. “I need something, I need a spark, I need something and I just don’t seem to have it.”

McIlroy is the defending winner at The Players Championship, taking the title in 2019 before last year’s event was canceled after one round due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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