McIlroy Begins Heavy 2018 Schedule in Abu Dhabi

McIlroy Begins Heavy 2018 Schedule in Abu Dhabi

"Look at Hazeltine last time and how they set that golf course up: big wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens". He was also diagnosed with a minor heart ailment and did not play any tournament after the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the first week of October.

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover.

"I was excited to be done [last season]".

"I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship last year and very easily have taken the rest of the year off", he admitted.

"It would be ideal if I were to win one of these next eight events or whatever, hopefully not just one".

DeChambeau thrilled the Abu Dhabi crowds back in 2016 with a stunning 8-under 64 on the first day to take the lead.

McIlroy also revealed he would be preparing differently for tournaments over the early part of this season, getting to each event earlier than usual and putting in the practice he was unable to do previous year, which took its toll mentally as well as physically. "It's been almost 16 months since I won, so I'd love to get back in the winner's circle as soon as possible". I felt like I needed it [the break] physically and mentally.

"I don't need to win but I'd love to", added the 28-year-old, who has finished in the top 10 in the last four years at Augusta.

"There's been a few different things I have been thinking, like I'm going to try to get to golf tournaments a bit earlier again", said McIlroy. The American went into the weekend tied-second with Rory McIlroy before Fowler's impressive final round performance saw him lift the famous falcon trophy.

However, McIlroy is confident that Thomas Bjorn's team will be a match for the visitors at Le Golf National and is determined to seal his place in that line up by making a strong start to the new season following a "sabbatical" that has left him feeling re-energised, both physically and mentally.

"2018 is going to be a massive year for me and playing in Abu Dhabi is a great place to start", said the young American.

"I'm excited to be back at a golf tournament, it's been a while", he said at his pre-tournament press conference, as reported by SkySports.

Rory McIlroy feels a first win since September 2016 is "not far away" as he prepares to make his competitive comeback in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

"I can't really answer what I want to walk away with, but I think it will be quite revealing the next two weeks to see where I am with at with my game". I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish.

Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Race to Dubai victor Tommy Fleetwood are also set to tee it up, with organisers grouping Rose, Stenson and Matt Kuchar together for the first two rounds. He'll tee it up off alongside Dustin Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood at 7:40 a.m. Thursday local time (or 10:40 p.m. ET Wednesday in the U.S.).

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