Luke Donald says he needs to win tournaments like the Players Championship to realise his dream of becoming world number one.
Speaking before the start of golf's unofficial 'fifth major', Donald said he had to believe he could knock Tiger Woods off the top of the rankings.
"I think the only way for me to catch him is to start believing I'm as good as him," said the 28-year-old.
Woods did not turn up for his practice round for the event on Wednesday.
But the 30-year-old will still be competing in the tournament at Sawgrass, Florida, despite reports he had flown to California to visit his father who is battling prostate cancer.
"Tiger Woods was off site today for personal reasons but intends to be back at the TPC Sawgrass in time for his first-round tee time on Thursday at 12.33pm," said Woods' manager Mark Steinberg.
The tournament carries the richest prize in golf at US$5m and, of the game's top 50 players, only Chris DiMarco and Kenny Perry are missing through injury.
Donald announced his intention to be number one after moving into the world's top 10 with victory at the Honda classic two weeks ago.
"I hope some of my comments took nothing away from Tiger," he said.
"Tiger's a phenomenal player. He's absolutely the number one player in the world right now. That's what I am striving to be."
World number two Vijay Singh said top players allowed themselves to be intimidated by Woods' reputation.
"That's the feeling I don't have," he said. "I'm more aggressive - I want to go out there and take it on. I'm working very hard towards that."
Donald will be among 23 European players hoping to emulate Sandy Lyle's victory in 1987.
Despite nearly 20 years without a win, Europeans have done well in the competition.
Donald led after 54 holes last year, before being overhauled by Fred Funk, and there have also been runner-up finishes by Colin Montgomerie in 1996, Bernhard Langer in 1995 and 1993, Nick Faldo in 1992 and Padraig Harrington in 2003 and 2004.