The secret behind McIlroy's success - he writes his goals on the back of his boarding pass

Rory McIlroy

Karl MacGinty in Abu Dhabi

SOME people set their goals in stone but Rory McIlroy each year jots down his on the back of an airline boarding pass, which he then folds away and keeps in his wallet until the following December.

As ever, Ireland’s World No 1 scribbled down seven objectives for 2015 during last week’s seven and a half hour flight from Dublin to Dubai for his annual pre-season tune-up in the desert.

McIlroy won’t tell anybody what his targets are for this season though, remarkably, the 25-year-old revealed that he didn’t achieve all his goals in 2014, a stellar year in which he landed two Major titles, The Open and US PGA Championships.

“I actually didn’t achieve everything that I wanted to,” he smiled. “I wanted to have six worldwide wins and I only had four … but still, it was a good year.”

Were there two Majors on it? “No there was one.”

Was it any of the four in particular? “No.” he quipped. “Whatever. I’m not greedy.”

Rory McIlroy with the Claret Jug

McIlroy’s followed exactly the same procedure “Since the start of my career. It’s funny,” he added. “The numbers have gradually got less and less, 13B, 12A and on down. It’s been nice.” For the record, this year’s was 1A.

Explaining how it works, McIlroy went on: “Every year I fly to Dubai to do a week or 10 days of prep before the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship, which is my first tournament of the year.

“I write my goals down on the back of my boarding pass, memorise them, put it in my wallet and don’t look at them again until the end of the year. So in the wallet in my back pocket right now is a boarding pass with my goals for the year.

“I don’t really want to share them with anyone else. They are just my little goals and I’ll take out that boarding pass at year’s end and see how well I’ve done.”

Usually, McIlroy then just throws them away but he handed last year’s, seat 4K on an Emirates Airbus flight from Sydney to Dubai International on January 2, 2014, to his Tour Manager Sean O’Flaherty, who intends to get it framed.

As for maintaining this tradition into the future, he joked: “One day, I won’t need a boarding pass, that’s the ultimate.”  McIlroy has no plans to buy a private jet right now but his globetrotting schedule will likely persuade him to invest in one at some stage in the future.

Though clearly refreshed and relaxed after his mid-winter break in Ireland, McIlroy still seemed incredibly laid-back yesterday about the upcoming Commercial Court showdown with his former management company.

The case goes to trial in the Four Courts on February 2, less than 48 hours after the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic, which McIlroy plays.

“Why would it,” he said when asked if the trial, which is likely to last over six weeks and could see McIlroy spending up to six days in the witness box, could impact on his bid for a career Grand Slam at April’s US Masters in Augusta.

“It’s no big deal, I’ll be okay at the end of the day,” he added. “I just have to get up there and tell the truth. That’s all I need to do.

“I’ve literally not thought about it since whenever I had to talk to someone about it. I just go with what the lawyers say and they tell me to just sit tight and not talk much about it. That’s it.”

Listen to the interview below: