Rory McIlroy has revealed he has been working hard since the Masters to eliminate the swing faults which have crept into his game this year.
McIlroy is without a win so far in 2016, although he has recorded four top-10 finishes while losing out to Jason Day in the semi-finals of the WGC-Dell Match Play last month.
The four-time major champion, who turned 27 on Wednesday, has not played since enduring a frustrating weekend at the Masters, where he was just a shot behind leader Jordan Spieth at the halfway stage before he failed to make a single birdie in a third-round 77.
He salvaged a tie for 10th with a final-day 71, and he took a two-week break before linking up with swing coach Michael Bannon in a bid to cut out the “bad habits” he feels hampered his preparations for the first major of the year.
McIlroy is looking to get back on track at this week’s Wells Fargo Championship, a tournament which saw him clinch his breakthrough PGA Tour victory in sensational style six years ago when he shot 66, 62 at the weekend to finish four clear of a world-class field.
He lost out to Rickie Fowler in a play-off in 2012, but he was in a class of his own at Quail Hollow last season as he cruised to a seven-shot win which included a stunning 61 on Saturday.
“I’m very excited to be back,” McIlroy said. “Any time you get to defend a title is exciting and Quail Hollow has been a really good place for me in my PGA Tour career.
“I’ve always been very comfortable on this golf course and with the great memories that I have it all adds up to a really enjoyable week, but a week where I feel like I can play really well and strongly and have a chance to contend again.
“I had a good chat with my swing coach Michael Bannon. I had got into a couple of bad habits leading up to Augusta and it’s never really a good time to work on them – you are just trying to play golf and shoot a score.
“I’d started to set the club a little deep, got the club a little behind me. I needed to set it a little more vertical and try to get it coming down on the plane a little more with a little less clubface rotation, and I feel like I have done that pretty well.
“I am still working on it and I’ve got a few swing thoughts this week but I feel better than I did when I put the clubs away for a couple of weeks. I took basically a full two weeks off from golf. I went home to Ireland for a week and then had a bit of a break; I was island-hopping for about 10 days, which was nice.