McIlroy: There’s no better place
Rory McIlroy is eager to get 2016 underway at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship this weekend.
The Northern Irishman loves coming to the UAE to play golf – mostly because of the idyllic weather – and this weekend should prove no different.
"I've said this before: I don't think there's any better place to start the year than here in Abu Dhabi with the weather, the golf course, the field that HSBC is able to put together," the four-time major winner told the European Tour website.
"It's a real competitive start to the year, and I feel like it's really helped me start the year quickly and well over the past few years, and hopefully that's the same case this year."
McIlroy will form part of a blockbuster three-ball for the opening two rounds, with world number one Jordan Spieth and the outrageously talented Rickie Fowler sharing the tee-box.
"Teeing off on Thursday morning, it's your first competitive shot in a couple of months." he added.
"To tee up alongside those guys, the excitement, there's a buzz about it. Every year coming back here to Abu Dhabi, it was sort of the same last year with Rickie and the previous couple of years it was with Tiger.
"You're teeing off the first round of your season and it feels like you're right into the thick of things at the start. So I think that's really beneficial for a lot of guys to start the year like that."
A combination of McIlroy's nine week injury layoff and superb results for Spieth and world number two Jason Day saw him slip down to third in the rankings. However, McIlroy is eager to rectify that as soon as possible.
"I still like to look at it and see where I'm at," said the 26-year-old about the world rankings.
"Especially the strength of field for this week and how many points you would get for a win, so it's always there.
"I know I need to play well this week to leapfrog Jason. I think if I can finish second, I can get up above him.
"But I've made no secret about wanting to get back to that position, and I'd like to do it as quickly as possible. So it's definitely a motivation."
Rory McIlroy bemoans ‘ugly year’ and seeks solution to divide in golf world
The arrival of Saudi-backed LIV Golf series has fractured the game in 2022.
On this day in 2014 – Europe retain Ryder Cup with Gleneagles victory
The Gleneagles victory was Europe’s eighth win in 10 matches.
‘Is this where I am going to die?’ Nicolas Colsaerts on kidney disorder battle
The Belgian is the focus of attention this week as he belatedly defends the Cazoo Open de France title he won three years ago.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe team
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Open champion Cameron Smith wins first LIV trophy in just second start
The world number two is the highest-ranked player to join the rebel series.
Robert MacIntyre beats Matt Fitzpatrick in play-off to win Italian Open
MacIntyre birdied the first extra hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Matt Fitzpatrick holds narrow lead ahead of final round at Italian Open
Rory McIlroy and Aaron Rai are one shot off the pace.
Rory McIlroy picks up the pace to claim lead ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in Rome
McIlroy’s group looked unlikely to complete their second rounds after taking three hours to play nine holes.
Matt Fitzpatrick leads way at Italian Open despite ‘inconsistent’ display
The US Open champion held a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Tom Lewis,
Rory McIlroy rues a late night until eagle gets him flying in Italian Open
The four-time major winner was only a shot behind leader Matt Fitzpatrick after the first round of the Rome event.