Wee-Mac blames bad back

Rory McIlroy has blamed a stiff back for his uninspiring opening round at The Players Championship on Thursday.

The Northern Irishman struggled with his back earlier in the year then took a three weeks off as he married fiancé Eric Stoll. 

In the lead up to The Players, the four-time major winner only managed to play nine holes around TPC Sawgrass. 

Now, in his first tournament as a married man, McIlroy endured a checkered round, with his five birdies being offset by a couple double bogeys and dropped shots on the first and seventh. His one over 73 sees him start round two six shots behind leading pair William McGirt and Mackenzie Hughes.

"In fairness, I haven't been able to practice as much as I wanted to the last few days," the world number two told pgatour.com.

"I only played nine holes here. I've been very limited hitting golf balls.

"My back has got a little bit stiff again. I guess just from obviously building it up and playing through and then not doing anything for three weeks and then coming back last weekend and hitting balls for four or five hours a day.

"So I think that's why I'm a little bit rusty, as well. But I think this week it's just about trying to manage that and get through the week and try to play with what I have, and then next week try to get that better and try to recover and try to play a good stretch of golf from here through the summer and obviously focus on the majors."