Players Championship: Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth set to renew rivalry
It is the latest rivalry on the block in Golf, but it has already stirred up a lot of interest within the fraternity of the sport. Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, 26 and 21 years respectively, will be raring to renew their rivalry when the Players’ Championship tees off later in the day. The duo has been drawn together at the high-profile event, and an air of anticipation hangs heavily over Sawgrass, where the tournament is being held.
McIlroy, who gifted himself the perfect 26th birthday present by winning the World Golf Championship on Sunday (3rd May), is in resplendent form and although he hasn’t really had the time to bask in the glory of his recent win, will be more eager than ever to get one up over his American rival, Spieth. McIlroy joined Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to have won ten titles before turning 26.
Spieth, who became the second youngest player to don the Green Jacket at a Major, was far from his best at the World Golf Championship at San Francisco last week, failing to make it to the last 16. And although, the rivalry is but only a month old, many observers are forecasting its ability to be the greatest ever that the sport has seen. The other young turks who will be eager to deliver the goods at the Players’ Championship include Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson.
McIlroy, although, expressed his excitement at having been drawn alongside Jordan Spieth, chose to downplay the rivalry part. “Last year it was Rickie [Fowler], this year it’s Jordan, before that it could have been Tiger. There have been four of five rivalries this year. I don’t really pay that much attention to the stories; Of course, when I saw the draw I was excited to play not just with Jordan but Jason as well. I’ve played with him before but, regardless of who I play with, I’m concentrating on what I do. Yes, there will be a bit more buzz and excitement but I always focus on my game”, he said.
Tiger Woods, whose performance at the Augusta Masters left a lot to be desired for, will also be keen to regain his form at the Players Championship.
India pins its hopes on Lahiri
Following a spectacular show at the World Golf Championships at San Francisco last week, where he missed out on a spot in the last 16 by a whisker, Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri will hope to carry his good form into the Players’ Championship as well.
Lahir, currently ranked 36, beat 23rd ranked Ryan Palmer in his inaugural match at the World Golf Championship before coming within inches of a win against Justin Rose. Rose, thoroughly impressed with the Indian golfer’s performance, heaped praise on the latter, calling him a ‘dangerous’ putter.