Spieth expecting McIlroy backlash

Jordan Spieth is expecting Rory McIlroy to mount a strong challenge for the world number one spot in 2016.

It was a combination of results and luck that saw Spieth take the number one ranking from the Northern Irishman in August. 

McIlroy's injury saw him miss nine weeks of golf, including the Open Championship and WGC – Bridgestone Invitational. In the meantime, Spieth was notching up victories, with his win at the Tour Championship sealing the world number one spot and his maiden FedEx Cup title. 

Nonetheless, McIlroy did bounce back to win the European Tour season finale at the DP World Tour Championship and with it the Race to Dubai title. 

This, according to Spieth, is what makes him a dangerous player for the rest of the 2016 season. 

"In a season that he considered lost, he still came back and ended up winning the Race To Dubai and that proves what a player he is," the 22-year-old is quoted as saying by the Telegraph

"I'm sure there are very few players who have been working harder than he is to make this season his best season yet – and that is scary. Hopefully, I can prevent that to an extent."

In terms of his own season, Spieth has three specific goals…and not all of them are simply personal glory.

"I would like to contend in a couple of majors on Sunday and I’d like to win at least one of them," continued the two-time major winner.

"I'd also like to represent the United States in not only the Olympics but also the Ryder Cup. It would be great to get a couple of wins, not only for myself but for my country."

McIlroy and Spieth will face off at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship this week, with the duo likely to be paired for the opening two rounds.