Sunday 25 September 2016

Rory McIlroy: 'It hasn't been a great year - I want 2016 to be better'

Published 18/12/2015 | 02:30

Rory McIlroy has acknowledged the challenges he faces from a host of ambitious young stars, particularly Jordan Spieth, and is ready to respond (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Rory McIlroy has acknowledged the challenges he faces from a host of ambitious young stars, particularly Jordan Spieth, and is ready to respond (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Rory McIlroy's reflections on a tumultuous 2015 have led to changes in the way he will approach the 2016 campaign.

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McIlroy acknowledged the challenges he faces from a host of ambitious young stars, particularly Jordan Spieth, and is ready to respond.

Speaking to Newstalk's Off The Ball, the 26-year-old four-time Major winner told of his mixed feelings about the 2015 season.

"It's been a good year, it hasn't been a great year but I'm really happy with how everything has gone, especially post-injury and winning a golf tournament (DP World Tour championship) before the end of the year," he said.

"That was important to me, to sign off the year on the right note. Happy enough with the season but definitely want next year to be better."

The rise of Spieth has given McIlroy, Jason Day and other top-rank players a reality check as they look at a player who won two Majors this year and was in contention for the other two.

"He's impressive. For a. . . I can't say a kid that young. . . he's four years younger than me, but I had nowhere near the mental capacity at 22 as he does," said McIlroy.

"I've learned as the years went on, and I've had to overcome some obstacles to learn, but he just seems to have that little mental edge.

"He's such a great thinker and he manages himself so well. Even if he's having a bad day, he's still able to find a way to grind it out, or find a way to get something out of the round. He's a great thinker in that way."

The Holywood native is relaxing and enjoying his holidays and the serious goal setting will not take place until the new year in advance of his return to tournament play in Abu Dhabi.

The Masters is the only Major he has yet to win, and McIlroy will do all he can to arrive at Augusta in peak form.

"I really won't start thinking about it until it's closer to the tournament," he said.

"I've got seven tournaments before Augusta, which is a lot for me. Augusta used to be my sixth of the year. Now it's going to change.

"The Match Play is before Augusta now and I've added an extra event in the States just because I want to go and play the golf course. I've heard Riviera is a great course and I want to go there and play in LA.

"It's a couple of extra events, hopefully just a little sharper and a little more ready."

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