Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

McIlroy's expectations on the rise forward of Dubai event

McIlroy won the Dubai Desert Classic in 2009 and 2015 McIlroy won the Dubai Desert Classic in 2009 and 2015
Lora Ball | 25 January, 2018, 16:45

The 28-year-old called an early end to a winless and injury-plagued season last October, but returned with a tie for third in Abu Dhabi last week and carried on where he left off in Dubai.

Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy was joined for the pro-am by pop star Niall Horan - he of One Direction fame, plus American social media star Paige Spiranac, who made her her professional golfing debut at the 2015 Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.

"I saw him a little bit at my Match Play event previous year - that was the first time I started to pick his brains a bit", he said.

The 49-year-old had been second reserve on Tuesday but replaced his Ryder Cup team-mate Peter Hanson - the Swede was the man in before Lawrie obut pulled out with a bad back - at 7.30am. "I had the winter off and I turned up last week and I wasn't aiming at the target".

Have you been impressed with McIlroy's play so far in 2018?

McIlroy turned in an 18-under, four shots adrift of victor Tommy Fleetwood, with his best round being seven-under 65 in the third round.

"Really happy with how everything went last week", he said.

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"The rough was up a little bit and maybe some of the greens were soft, tricky conditions on Sunday, I would have thought 18 under par would have a great chance to win".

McIlroy told Sky Sports, "I didn't expect to play as well as I did last week, and it's been nice to continue that into this week".

"I was excited about the process of trying to get better and trying to get my body better, my game better, so I was excited about that". I feel like I've got a bit of a spring back in my step because of what happened last week and very confident in myself.

McIlroy has been practising relentlessly since the New Year as he looks to put his injury behind him and reclaim his place in the top ten of the Official World Golf Ranking.

With such a comeback, thoughts turned to Masters, the only Major missing from his trophy cabinet, but McIlroy tempered it down by saying there was still a lot to go between then and now. Right now it's just about getting myself in a nice bit of form and playing tournaments and playing well.

The Slow Hands singer will be taking part in the Omega "Constellation Clinic" on Friday 26 January at 5:30pm alongside pro golfers Rory McIlroy and Paige Spiranac.

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