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.”