Rory McIlroy is relishing the opportunity to put a smile back on his face at this week’s WGC – Cadillac Championship in Miami.
The World Number One withdrew midway through his second round in the Honda Classic last week. Immediately afterwards, McIlroy released a statement citing wisdom tooth pain as the reason – an ailment he admits should not have forced his withdrawal.
In typically honest fashion, the Northern Irishman today addressed the issue in the same manner he often has during a career thus far highlighted by two Major Championships, back to back wins at The Ryder Cup and topping both the Race to Dubai and US PGA Tour money list.
He admitted: “I think everyone's seen what I've said afterwards and in the aftermath, obviously I had a lot of time to think about it, I realised pretty quickly that it wasn't the right thing to do.
“No matter how bad I was playing, I should have stayed out there. I should have tried to shoot the best score possible even though it probably wasn't going to be good enough to make the cut.
“My tooth was bothering me, but it wasn't bothering me enough to probably, you know, quit, but that's just the way it is.
“I regret what I did. But it's over now and it won't happen again.”
He is now hoping hard work put in since last week will pay off on the famed Blue Monster course at Trump Doral.
He said: “I've worked my ass off over the last four or five days to really try and get this (his swing) right. Still, it's a work in progress.”
McIlroy is also determined to put that smile back on his face.
“I've got to remember, I started to play golf because I love it, I really do,” he said. “I have to go out there and enjoy myself. It's the same thing as last summer. Dave Stockton said to me: ‘When I see you out there, you're not smiling. Smile more.’ And when I smile, it lifts your spirits and that was basically the whole turnaround last summer.
“When you start to enjoy your golf, you start to play better and I haven't been enjoying it because I've been putting so much pressure on myself. I’ll go out here this week and I'm going to enjoy it.”