"And I overreacted probably a bit, but you just don't see that very often, and I know my guy, Michael (Greller) rakes and makes sure that it's exactly the way it was when he went in there, so if you hit it in the bunker, everybody gets the same kind of thing".
The Australian said catching Johnson would be a tough task if he carried on playing the way he was but he was determined to get his season on track after a season-best's fifth place finish at Pebble Beach.
Defending champion and world No. 3 Jason Day, world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia are among the notables in a stacked field at the PGA Tour's THE PLAYERS Championship.
McIlroy will be playing his first tournament since announcing his new club deal with TaylorMade and his first tournament since marrying Erica Stoll last month. Putting the 2017 M2 Driver and M2 Tour Fairway Woods in his bag.
He was in contention at the Masters before a final-round 75.
Day is joined at TPC Sawgrass by fellow Australians Adam Scott and recent Zurich Classic of victor Cameron Smith, as well as Rod Pampling, Greg Chalmers and Aaron Baddeley. "Obviously, the conditions, we'll have to wait and see the conditions". Fresh off his first major victory at Augusta, Garcia heads to TPC Sawgrass with his good luck charm in tow - the Green Jacket - although the 37-year-old might not need it.
"I think that's natural". He won his ninth Tour title at Pebble Beach and his tie for fourth two weeks with with Ryan Palmer at the Zurich Classic was his sixth top-10 finish in 11 starts. "Stay away from Palm Valley Road where all the lots are, of course", Saltman said. The course is a typical par-72 layout with four par 5s, but it doesn't really favor the bombers. But even if you hit it in the water, you can still make an up-and-down for 4.
"I was actually thinking, 7- or 8-under after the second hole [his 11th]", Day said. The Players Championship could be the springboard to other majors.
"But I'm trying to focus on getting back to that winning form, the practice workload I was doing (as No.1) and hopefully the results will come after that".
How could we not include the current world number one on the list to watch this weekend?
Sergio Garcia was introduced on the first tee as the Masters champion when he teed off in the afternoon, then he had three bogeys and a double bogey on his opening six holes.
"DJ" was only second at the Wells Fargo Championship on Sunday, having won his previous three events, and he is a very worthy jolly this week at a best-priced 15/2 with Sky Bet. "I haven't had a lot of success around here, so it's definitely a challenge for me. Now, I'm in a rebuilding stage to try and get back to the top", he said. I'm expecting to play well this week.
"It's just a hard tournament to win". He ended up making birdie three consecutive times on the par four island hole to edge out Kevin Kisner in a sudden death playoff.
The most famous might have been the 12 that Bob Tway made on the 17th in the third round of 2005. Or as Luke Donald once put it, "It's do-or-die".
Meanwhile, James Hahn's looper, Mark Urbanek, didn't hit a tee shot - he threw it instead.
He has been a more relaxed figure in recent times anyway but his massive natural talent should come even more to the fore with the major monkey off his back. He is now ranked 109 in the FedEx Cup standings and 248 in the world rankings.
2015: Rickie Fowler, showing that keeping your ball dry down the stretch is the ultimate and necessary starting point to winning.
For the next four days, brace yourself.