McIlroy, who finished second behind Henrik Stenson in the European Tour’s season-finale in Dubai on Sunday, has credited his win over Adam Scott 12 months ago as being the catalyst for this stunning campaign which as seen him lift two major titles on his way to reinstating himself as the game’s undisputed best.
With Scott, the world No 3, in rivalry again, McIlroy will have his work cut out but in the mission for a fifth trophy of the year, his motivation is not lacking.
While, victory at the Masters, would see him join Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen and Gary Player as the only players to win the Big Four, he could claim membership at an even more exclusive club. Nicklaus and Player are the only two non-Australians to have have successfully defended the Australian Open in the event’s 110-year history.
“Of course, they’re two players who have won the Grand Slam and their connection with the Australian Open is pretty timely for me,” McIlroy said. “I have been thinking about Augusta since I won the PGA Championship in August So it might be a good omen for me going to the Masters in April if I could emulate them.”
After Sydney, McIlroy will travel to New York to host two corporate evenings on behalf of his Rory McIlroy Foundation before taking a break over Christmas and the New Year. The Northern Irishman is favourite to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year after being named on the shortlist.
Why Rory McIlroy should win BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2014