McIlroy vows there will be no ‘toothache’ drama at this year’s Honda Classic

Rory McIlroy won the Honda Classic in 2012, claiming the world number one spot in the process. But last year things took a downward turn for the Northern Irishman when he walked off the course citing toothache as the blame for his sour dip in form.

A more reflective McIlroy said in the lead up to this year’s Honda Classic: “You should never walk off the golf course, no matter how bad things are.

"It was just one of those days, I just felt like I couldn't cope with anything more, especially not the way I was heading; I was going to shoot 90, the last thing I needed.''

It wasn’t a good time for McIlroy, who at the time was still learning to deal with media pressure as well as legal battles. He added: "There was a lot of things going on at that time.

"My game wasn't where I wanted it to be. My mental state wasn't quite where I needed it to be. There were a few things occupying my thoughts that probably didn't need to be and shouldn't have been, but it was just a very difficult time.''

However, McIlroy has stated he is happier now and enjoying his game, despite a recent early exit at the WGC-Accenture Match Play, in which he slipped to eighth in the world rankings.

"It's so much different this year. I'm much more comfortable. I'm in a better place, and I feel like my game is in a good place, and everything else can sort of fall in line with that,” he explained.

"I really can't wait to get back to The Honda. It is one of my favourite events of the year and winning in 2012 was an important landmark in my career.

"Having a place in Palm Beach now also gives the tournament a kind of special feeling - nearly like a home event."