After winning last year’s Wells Fargo Championship, Rory McIlroy experienced somewhat of a roller-coaster season. He made a good run on Sunday to finish tied for 9th at the U.S. Open. However, in early July he injured his ankle while playing soccer with friends and missed the chance to defend his Open Championship title along with several other scheduled tournaments. When he did return, he finished 17th at the PGA Championship and by season’s end recorded seven top-10 finishes in 12 PGA TOUR starts. When he won in Charlotte, McIlroy was World No.1 but swapped that world ranking spot several times during the FedExCup Playoffs with Jason Day and Jordan Spieth before finishing the season at No.3. On the European Tour he did win his second Dubai double—winning the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai titles.
So far in the 2015-2016 season, McIlroy’s best finish is a tie for 11th at the WGC—HSBC Champions back in November. He started the 2016 calendar year playing on the European Tour and in January and February recorded a T3 and a T6 in two starts.
Q | How important to you is it to make a statement right at the start of the year, in exactly the same way as Jordan Spieth did in Hawai'i?
RORY McIlroy | You know, I don't know if it's about making a statement, but I just want to play well. I want to compete each and every week. I felt really ready to come out and play well here this week. I got off to a great start. Obviously there's still a long way to go, but I want to win every tournament I play. It's not about making statements or trying to lay down markers. It's just about trying to play the best that I can. I know if I do that, hopefully there's a lot of wins to come.
Q | Where is your mind-set on getting to No. 1 now?
RORY McIlroy | I want to get there as soon as I can and I feel like the next few weeks, there's opportunities to gain a lot of good World Ranking points and get up there. But you know, again, it's winning tournaments and playing well takes care of all that stuff.
So I've just got to focus on that and focus on trying to win golf tournaments. I've got four or five more -- four more golf tournaments before Augusta I guess. So it's a good run coming up and I want to play well, and I want to build up to this run into Augusta so I'm really confident going into sort of the meat of the season.
Q | Do you believe, you personally, came at a right time, considering people that didn't know what was going to happen with Tiger, who had all the attention at one point?
RORY McIlory | I don't know. I like the era that I'm in. I don't know if I would change that or try to go back in time. I'm comfortable with where I am. It would have been or it would be, depending on what your views are, nice to still have a battle with Tiger down the stretch and see where I measure up. Obviously he has to get healthy. He's started to hit balls again, which is great.
But I feel like right now my main rivals are the younger guys and the people that are playing week in, week out and putting in good performances. I have to concentrate on myself and try to play the best that I can and hopefully that's better than the people that are around me at the minute.