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McIlroy Ready to Bounce Back with a Bang in 2018

By: | Mon 11 Dec 2017 | Comments

RORY McILROY seems to be determined to make up for lost time, having announced a playing schedule for the start of 2018 that could see him playing nine tournaments in 10 weeks. The 28-year-old Northern Irishman will start the year with his world ranking having plunged to 10 after an injury-hit season affected both his form and his schedule.

He lost the South African Open in a playoff to Graeme Storm and then announced that he would be taking time off to recover from a rib injury suffered as a result of hitting too many shots as he tested new golf equipment. He never fully recovered and ended a troubled year at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews in October.

McIlroy also parted company with his long-term caddie J.P. Fitzgerald, putting best friend Harry Diamond on the bag – and the golfer has announced that Diamond will still be his caddie when he emerges from his winter hibernation. He is working hard on his game, with a view to arriving at Augusta for The Masters in April with everything in peak condition. He only requires the Green Jacket to complete a full set of majors.

McIlroy has already committed himself to seven tournaments prior to Augusta in April, and if he also adds the WGC World Matchplay and WGC Mexico Championship tp his schedule them he will have completed nine events.

He will start his campaign at the Abu Dhabi Championship and then head off to the Dubai Desert Classic, an event he has won twice. He will then have a week off before heading to California to compete in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Genesis Open at Riviera.

McIlroy returns to PGA National in Florida for the Honda Classic, an event he won in 2012 and was runner-up two years later, but he missed the first stop on the PGA Tour's Florida Swing earlier this year due to his injury. According to his intended schedule on his website, McIlroy has yet to commit to the following week's WGC-Mexico Championship, but he will play in the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, which starts on March 15.

McIlroy is also set to play at Bay Hill the following week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, although he has not yet added the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play to his intended list of starts.

If he does tee up in the WGC events in Mexico and Texas, McIlroy will play nine tournaments in a 10-week stretch and then have just one week off before The Masters.

McIlroy said: "I played for four months without hitting a shot from left to right. My wedge play was not very good. My iron play was not very good. It's so nice that I have this time in the off-season to work on all this stuff and make sure it hopefully never happens again. I feel I'm a much better player than I was in 2011 and 2012, when I was able to win a couple of majors. I feel I can do better than that in the next 10 years and that's why these three months off are very important for me to put some really good things in place, step away and just reassess where I'm at and where I need to be.

"The landscape of the game has changed a bit since I started to win majors. You have young, hungry guys now who are fearless and playing the game how I basically came out and played a few years ago. It's about gaining an advantage again here and there, just reassessing everything and making sure I'm not leaving any stone unturned and doing everything I can to get back to (being) the best player in the world.

"These three months off could give me the foundation to have the next 10 years be even better than the 10 years I've just had. That turns a great career into one of the greatest careers."

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Tags: rory mcilroy PGA Tour european tour

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