• Shoots a three-under par round of 69 - Spieth three-over
• "I'm happy with the start for sure," said the world No.1
World No.1 Rory McIlroy got the better of Masters champion Jordan Spieth on day one of the Players Championship as he bids to win the tournament for the first time in his sixth start.
The 26-year-old shot a three-under opening round of 69 – two shots behind leaders Hideki Matsuyama, David Hearn, Charley Hoffman and Kevin Na – while Spieth struggled to a three-over par 75.
It’s the first time the pair have been grouped together since Spieth assumed the world No.2 position following his maiden major win at Augusta last month, and McIlroy was just delighted to get off to a solid start.
"I was able to pick off a couple of birdies and a nice eagle on 16, so pleased with the start" - Rory McIlroy
“I'm happy with the start for sure,” said Rory McIlroy. “There's a lot of pars on my card, but I was able to pick off a couple of birdies and a nice eagle on 16, so pleased with the start.
“I felt conditions got quite tricky out there at the end with the wind, it swirls a lot around here, and made club selection a little bit more difficult. But I’m happy with that.”
Much has been made of a potential future rivalry between the current two best players in the world but on the course, everything was light-hearted enough and during the round the pair even got chatting about hairstyles!
“It's funny, we were talking about hairstyles! But anyway, I sort of said to him, you have a green jacket, your hair can be whatever you want it to be!”
Spieth, meanwhile, was understandably disappointed with his opening round, which included five bogeys, and he finds himself in real danger of not making it to the weekend if he doesn’t go under par today.
" just a really, really poor day" - Jordan Spieth
“ just a really, really poor day,” conceded Spieth. “I've got to find something to work on. Sometimes when you're hitting it really well, you just get tough breaks and you have a bad day. This wasn't one of those.
"I actually really need to find something on the range. Just hasn't been good ball striking this week, and if I didn't putt well today, it could have gone up there towards that eight number, so I really saved my round in the middle of it there.”
Rory McIlroy, Spieth and Jason Day, who is also three-under, tee off for their second round at 6.49pm local time (1.49pm UK time).
Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth :: Your thoughts
Do you think playing with Rory McIlroy has affected Spieth? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.