McIlroy wants No.1 before Masters

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Rory McIlroy believes there is no reason why he can't regain the world number one spot before the Masters in April.

Despite his four wins in 2015, the Northern Irishman was usurped by Jordan Spieth and Jason Day at the top of the world rankings, and now frequently finds himself behind those two players in the weekly golf betting odds.

However, McIlroy is eager to claim the top spot back and he is in a hurry to do so.

"If can get off to a good start to the year, there's no reason why I can't be the number one player in the world going into Augusta," quipped the 26-year-old on sportsxchange.com.

"That's a goal of mine, to get off to a fast start…and try to reclaim that position as quickly as I can."

With a win at the DP World Tour Championship and four other top 11 finishes in his last five starts, one would think it is not out of reach.

Key to McIlroy's aspirations is this week's Northern Trust Open, which will be McIlroy's first outing in the US so far this year and his debut at the course.

"I've heard Riviera is a great course, and I want to go play there in LA, and I think it'll be a good course for me," added the four-time major winner.

"I'm very excited that the Northern Trust Open is in my schedule for the first time. I've heard so many positive things about the tournament and the exceptional quality of the course. 

"Many legends of the game have played and won at this iconic venue throughout its long history, so I'm really looking forward to visiting LA and experiencing Riviera for myself." 

Joining Mcilroy in Los Angeles is world number one Spieth, who is coming off a tied for 21 finish at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday.

"This tournament means a lot to me," revealed the 22-year-old.

"I think this is one of the greatest golf courses in the world. This event is one that I owe a lot back to.

"It was a great experience getting the PGA Tour start that then helped our team win the NCAA championship that year. We got some good insight on pin locations and how it would play. It's dear to my heart." 

The Northern Trust Open tees off at the Riviera Country Club in California on Thursday, and you can back your favourites – and a dark horse or two – by checking out the latest betting offers with Paddy Power.