Rory McIlroy’s search for a first Masters title will have to wait another year after he failed to land the Green Jacket at Augusta last month.
The 28-year-old managed to finish in a share of seventh but it was what he would call a “back-door top 10”, sneaking in when not really contending for the title.
Failing to break 71 over his first three rounds left him with too much to do on the Sunday and a creditable 69 was not enough to deny Sergio Garcia a first major.
That was the last time the Northern Irishman was seen in action as he has taken time off to marry Erica Stoll and should be fresh and raring to go when he tees it up at this week’s Players Championship.
A glance at history suggests that McIlroy does tend to play well when his personal life is in order as he enjoyed the most successful spell of his career in 2014 after ending his relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
All set to get married, he called off the nuptials and, seemingly more relaxed, won the BMW PGA Championship, the Open, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the US PGA Championship in a three-month period.
Fans of the four-time major winner will hope for a repeat now that he is a kept man. For those considering a punt, these golf offers at Free Super Tips could come in handy in deciding whether to back the man from Holywood.
It must be remembered though that The Ryder Cup ace has yet to win the Players - termed the unofficial ‘fifth major’ – and it remains to be seen what shape he is in at Sawgrass after five weeks away from the circuit.
However, he has a natural talent that few can match and should be able to pick up where he left off in Georgia.
The summer’s big events are approaching thick and fast and it will be to Wentworth that McIlroy heads after his Florida outing for the BMW PGA Championship.
The European Tour’s flagship event remains as popular as ever and it would be fitting if he landed his second title at the Surrey showpiece to mirror his exploits three years ago.
‘Wee-Mac’ will then base himself stateside for a few weeks, playing the Memorial Tournament and Travelers Championship either side of the US Open before attention turns back to home and the Irish Open.
Hosted by McIlroy himself and benefitting his Rory Foundation charity, this year’s event is even more special as it is being staged at Portstewart Golf Club north of the border and will attract a stellar field.
The host is the defending champion and, having donated the prize money to his charity last year, will be desperate to win again in front of his adoring fans.
McIlroy needs his putter to work to contend in tournaments and that is the part of his game that has been faltering.
There are few who hit it as far and as accurate off the tee while his iron play remains as solid as ever, but it was his prowess with the flat stick that was the hallmark of his 2014 success.
He normally finds a way to iron out any problems and if it all klicks then it will surely only be a matter of time before he is back in the winner’s circle.