World No. 3 McIlroy wants his crown back

The pain and anguish former world number one Rory McIlroy endured after his a mid-season ankle injury, playing soccer with mates, seem to pale by contrast to losing the No. 1 spot to Jordan Spieth and Jason Day as the season unfolded, if recent comments are anything to go by.

The current world number three finished the year with a bang by taking out his third Race to Dubai Title on the European Tour and spoke recently on BBC Sport in the UK of his plans to take back what was once his, sooner rather than later.

Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy (Credit: www.golffile.ie)

“If I can get off to a good start next year, I can get back to number one going into the Masters,” McIlroy said.

There’s also the not insignificant matter of a career Grand Slam of major titles, which the 26-year old would achieve with victory at The Masters in April.

McIlroy’s first crack at the Slam last year resulted in a tied 4th place finish well behind the rampant Spieth and his early 2016 schedule reflects his desire to be better prepared than ever heading into Augusta.

McIlroy has signalled his intention to play two more events ahead of The Masters than previous years, pencilling in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera in Los Angeles and his defence of the WGC-Dell Match Play in Austin, Texas, which has been advanced in the schedule to March.

“I need to feel I’m right in the middle of the season at Augusta,” McIlroy said.

“Over the last couple of years, I’ve played pretty well at Augusta but I’ve got off to a little bit of a slow start each time. Whether that was because I was a little bit under-golfed, that definitely won’t be the case in 2016.”