Rory McIlroy targets triumph in 'fifth major' at Sawgrass

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy's best finish in the Players Championship is a share of sixth spot last year

Rory McIlroy will be looking to clinch one of the few big titles missing from his glittering CV when he tees up in the Players Championship on Thursday.

McIlroy's best Players finish is his share of sixth place last year four shots behind winner Martin Kaymer.

World number one McIlroy goes into the Sawgrass event after his WGC Match Play triumph last weekend.

The Northern Irishman is paired with Masters champion Jordan Spieth and Jason Day over the first two rounds.

Victory in San Francisco on Sunday meant McIlroy joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to win 10 events on the PGA Tour before their 26th birthday.

The Northern Irishman only just made it, turning 26 on Monday, but those 10 wins include four majors, two WGC titles and two FedEx Cup play-off wins, meaning the so-called 'Fifth Major' is high on the agenda.

Ahead of this week's event, McIlroy has played down talk of an emerging rivalry with latest major champion Spieth.

"Last year it was Rickie (Fowler), this year it's Jordan, might be someone else, could have been Tiger. There have been four or five rivalries over the past year. It doesn't really do anything for me," added McIlroy.

As for playing alongside Spieth, McIlroy added:""I am pretty much paying attention to myself out there, trying to get myself around the golf course.

"Regardless of who I play with that doesn't really change.

"I'll notice it because there is going to be a bit more buzz around the group but I am focusing on my own game and trying to do the best I can."

Graeme McDowell will be paired with his fellow-Irishman Padraig Harrington over the first two days while Darren Clarke and Shane Lowry are also in the field.