Rory McIlroy made the perfect start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational yesterday, recording a three-under par 68 at Bay Hill.
The Northern Irishman is looking to pick up the pace ahead of the Masters next month, the first Major of the season, and the only such tournament that he's failed to win.
He famously blew a four-stroke lead on the final day at Augusta seven years ago, going seven-over par on the back nine alone to end up finishing tied in 15th.
That blunder didn't stop his success though, as he has since won the US Open, the Open Championship and the US PGA Championship twice.
However, the last of those victories came four years ago, which is an awfully long time for a player of his calibre.
And while he's made a positive start at Bay Hill, he faces stiff competition from one of the all-time greats.
Tiger Woods is continuing his return from back surgery at the event, at a course where he has won eight times during his career, and the American was four-under par after his first round.
If Woods was to win at the Masters, it would be one of the most remarkable comebacks in sporting history.
McIlroy believes he has to raise his game to match Woods', citing his brilliance on the putting green as the main area where he needs to pick up, and it was one of the key differences between them at Bay Hill.
The 14-time Major champion birdied all four of the par five holes yesterday, and McIlroy is aiming to improve his record there.
"I do need to play the par-fives better," he started. "This is a golf course where you need to play the par-threes well and play the par-fives well.
"To be only one under on the par-fives today, I need to do that better. Tiger’s won it plenty of times around here and that’s what he did.
"He can be conservative and play conservative for the most part, but if you make birdies on the par-fives, you’re going to be right up there.
"You look at the history of how Tiger has done well at this event and he’s killed the par-fives and played really conservatively and within his comfort zone the rest of the way, and that obviously has done him pretty well."
Hopes are building that Woods will defy all of the setbacks he's had over the last decade since his last Major, and win his 15th trophy in the big events.
However, McIlroy will definitely have something to say about that if he can keep improving himself.
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