"Obviously if you do win one, it makes you feel a little better about yourself going there, but I don't want to put myself under that pressure because there's enough going into Augusta", McIlroy said. He is still aware, however, that the Champions course here largely represents the origin of his back problems.
The PGA Tour literally returns home this week with the Honda Classic as the European Tour continues in Asia with the Qatar Masters. The American made his eagerly anticipated comeback in January's Farmers Insurance Open, finishing T23, but then missed the cut at last weekend's Genesis Open.
When Kizzire got to the 11th hole, he said to Woods, "Why do you have to make me so nervous, man?" Here are the top ten players I'll be looking for at the top of the leaderboard at PGA National. The Bear Trap always adds drama to the end of the tournament, with a lot of trouble lurking as players attempt to navigate their way to victory. "And I've got some work to do".
Starting on the back nine, he made the turn in one under, before that seven on the third threatened to derail his round. And last week, his putter let him down - he took 32 putts, including three three-putts, in his second round. Sign up for a Golficity Premium Membership to get full access to our weekly fantasy golf predictions segment and so much more.
The Champion Course at PGA National is one of the toughest on the PGA Tour circuit. During the pro-am, Woods hit his driver just six times.
Still, it was a pro-am, a casual round for which Woods rarely grinds.
"I'm still learning, " Woods told the media on the eve of the Honda Classic. "It looks like it's going to be breezy for the week, so controlling your ball flight is a big thing".
"Play out of the fairway".
The antics there are legendary, with fans often dressed in outlandish costumes, drinking nonstop and wagering on everything from the next shot to which caddy will reach the green first.
Organizers say in honor of the men and women who have and are now serving our great nation, the tournament offers complimentary tickets for active duty, reservists, retirees, their registered dependents and non-retired veterans Thursday through Sunday of the tournament.
No. 13 (par 4, 388 yards): Hits 292-yard tee shot into the fairway, from where his 93-yard approach settles to five feet, three inches from the pin. He had to hit every conceivable shot Thursday, to shape it both ways, high and low, and he executed almost every one of them.
All of which Woods struggled to do at Riviera.
His form in Florida offers particular encouragement though as his five starts in the Sunshine State reading back from last year's Players Championship show 6-7-18-21-27.
David Lynn was a surprise T4 in 2014, Russell Knox secured back-to-back each-way payouts in 2014 and 2015 and a year ago Tyrrell Hatton popped up to bank a top four on his course debut.
"I'm so happy I'm not in pain anymore, but I'm fused, so it's a little bit different", he said. I was doing everything I needed to do, just sort of grinding out pars. "It wasn't very good on Friday".