Rory McIlroy is certain that he will be ready to take on top-ranked Jordan Spieth when they tee off at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January next year.
The tournament with a US$2.7 million purse is the richest on the Desert Swing and will feature three of the world's top five players after fifth-ranked Ricky Fowler confirmed his participation.
Four-time major winner McIlroy, currently the world number three, has finished in the runner-up spot on four occasions in Abu Dhabi but is confident of winning his first Falcon Trophy when the tournament takes place at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club from January 21-24.
"Abu Dhabi always brings an outstanding player field, and with Jordan and Rickie competing in January, this will a superb test for me to start off the 2016 season. I've come close in Abu Dhabi several times now, so I'll be 100 percent ready for January's challenge," McIlroy said.
World number one Spieth, who had a break-out year on the PGA Tour this year having won major titles at the Masters and US Open, will be backing his debut in Abu Dhabi next year.
"I am looking forward to coming to Abu Dhabi, especially after Rickie told me about what a fantastic event it is. I love to travel and see the world and I am excited to not only play in the event but also checking out Abu Dhabi for the first time," the FedExCup champion said.
The popular Fowler played in Abu Dhabi for the first time in January this year and has set his sights on winning the title when he returns for the 2016 tournament.
"The past two years have been pivotal in my career," said Fowler.
"Getting three great Tour wins under my belt this year and coming so close in the four Majors in 2014 has given me confidence.
"I'm feeling more comfortable with my game than ever, and I'm looking forward to starting with a tough test against some of the big names in Abu Dhabi, which I hope will set me up nicely for the season ahead."
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