Rory McIlroy glad to be at Sawgrass

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Rory McIlroy acknowledged Tuesday that he made a mistake in skipping The Players Championship a year ago at TPC Sawgrass.

"Looking back on it, it wasn't one of my brightest moments," said McIlroy, who regained the No. 1 world ranking Sunday after losing in a playoff to Rickie Fowler at the Wells Fargo Championship. "I mean, I'm glad to be back."

McIlroy had at one point cited a distaste for the Sawgrass course -- he's missed the cut in his only two appearances -- but his schedule was likely the bigger culprit. He also declined to take up tour membership last season after being a full member in 2010.

"If I had played here, I would have played Quail Hollow, here, (Volvo) Match Play (in Spain), Wentworth, Memorial," he said. "I would have played five on the spin, and I just didn't really want to do that.

"This year I'm not playing the Match Play, but I'm playing here. So I've sort of swapped those two around."

Last year the tournament was without McIlroy and Lee Westwood, who was ranked No. 1 at the time. This year the tournament, which begins Thursday, is missing three of the past five major championship winners: Bubba Watson, Darren Clarke and Charl Schwartzel.

"It's a different type of golf course," McIlroy said of TPC Sawgrass. "It's a big advantage if you're playing from the fairway, especially with the small greens. And the rough around here, it can be a little thick in patches and it can be a little tricky.

"I've actually put a 2-iron in the bag this week, which I'll hit a lot off the tee just to try and keep it in play. I don't mind sacrificing distance as long as you're hitting from the fairways here."