The Players Championship: The momentum is not with Rory McIlroy ahead of title defence

Andrew Coltart looks ahead to The Players Championship and says the momentum is not with Rory McIlroy as he looks to defend the title he won in 2019…

This is not the Rory McIlroy we are normally talking about. It was incredibly contrasting watching him and Jordan Spieth in their post-round interviews on Sunday [at the Arnold Palmer Invitational]. Jordan looked like he was the one just outside the top 10 in the world and Rory looked like he was about 60th.

The momentum is not going with him and he’s talking about maybe having a change to his staff, either his caddie or his coach or something else. It’s just not with him, just now, the flow is just not with him.

He does have the game, obviously, to win, as we know, but he’s not firing on all cylinders at the moment and we’re not really talking about him as a main contender.

DeChambeau more than a showman

Sawgrass is a completely different proposition [to Bay Hill]. Bryson DeChambeau is a showman but he is more than a showman.

He comes out with the odd line, sometimes to stick it to his fellow pros, but it gets everybody on the edge of their seat. We were all desperate to see how he played the sixth hole last week, going for the green on a par-five. He had a couple of cracks and it was tremendous to watch.

If that was his ‘C game’ then it’s pretty impressive isn’t it? The testament of a great player is playing well when you haven’t actually got it all in the bag, but that guy has every attribute there and if he can manoeuvre his way around here without trying to overpower it, he’s got a good chance. If he tries to overpower it, Sawgrass will bite back.

It’s going to be one of the best

It’s been an incredibly long year for absolutely everybody. Some fans have started to come in and with that the atmosphere and the tension and the excitement has just started to levitate quite a bit.

This is one of the biggest tournaments in the world. It’s got one of the best fields that has ever assembled, there’s a crowd there, there’s an awful lot of excitement to play this golf course. We’re just really looking forward to this.

It’s a mental test, a physical test, a technical test. Pete Dye has designed a phenomenal stadium golf course.

You have to be incredibly precise, the wind can be difficult which causes problems. You have to be on every aspect of your golf game and that, in effect, is the definition of a wonderful championship. It’s certainly up there and it’s going to be one of the best.

And the winner?

I’m going to go for the 2018 champ which is Webb Simpson. He loves it there, gets the ball in play, I think he’s going to have a great chance.

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