McIlroy’s Disastrous Start at The Players Championship

Rory McIlroy made a dismal start at the Players Championship on Thursday, March 9th, 2021 at TPC Sawgrass, shooting a four-over par 76 to finish twelve shots behind round one clubhouse leader Chad Ramey. McIlroy hit only six of fourteen fairways in the first round, and while he averaged 323 yards per tee shot, he expressed that he is not satisfied with his current driver.[0] On the greens, McIlroy took 31 putts and lost more than two and a half strokes on the greens.[1] He didn't make a putt longer than four feet.[1]

McIlroy played alongside Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler, the world’s top three ranked players, but was outscored by five shots by the former and eight shots by the latter.[2] Chad Ramey, the world’s 225th ranked player, fired a brilliant eight-under 64, with 2021 Open champion Collin Morikawa a shot further back.[3] Justin Rose, who is returning to prominence, signed for a three-under-par 69.[4]

When asked about his driver, McIlroy revealed he’s having issues with it. He had been testing several out of late, and what has plagued him recently has been his putting.[5] McIlroy, who achieved a career-high 16th place ranking on the greens last season, is now ranked below 150th on the Tour.[5]

“They were testing drivers at Riviera, but I just didn’t even want to take the chance,” McIlroy said.[3] “I just was not comfortable knowing that it could fail. Doesn’t look good on me. Doesn’t look good on [equipment provider] TaylorMade. So after more than a year I changed it on that Thursday night.”[3]

Chad Ramey, the world’s 225th ranked player, raced into the early lead with a bogey-free Collin Morikawa hit nine three-pointers on his way to[4] Scottie Scheffler carded a 68 when playing alongside Rory McIlroy.[4]

In conclusion, McIlroy began his quest to win the unofficial fifth major at the Players Championship at Sawgrass with a disastrous start, falling twelve shots behind early leader Chad Ramey. McIlroy is having issues with his driver and is currently outside the top 150 on Tour for putting.[6]

0. “Rory McIlroy searching for ideal driver at 2023 Players Championship” Golfweek, 9 Mar. 2023,

1. “Players Championship: New names on the leaderboard ahead of Round 2 at TPC Sawgrass” ESPN, 9 Mar. 2023,

2. “Rory McIlroy struggles to opening-round 76 at THE PLAYERS” PGA TOUR, 9 Mar. 2023,

3. “The reason Rory McIlroy had to ditch treasured driver that took him to World No 1” The Telegraph, 9 Mar. 2023,

4. “Rory McIlroy laments change of driver after poor start at Players Championship” The Guardian, 9 Mar. 2023,

5. “Rory McIlroy tries to find form with new driver, opens with 76: ‘User error'” Yahoo Sports, 9 Mar. 2023,

6. “Rory McIlroy opens Players Championship with rough opening round” New York Post , 10 Mar. 2023,