World Number One Rory McIlroy insists he has unfinished business at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic when he gets his 2023 DP World Tour campaign under way this week.
Emirates Golf Club has been a happy hunting ground for the Northern Irishman, who won this event in 2009 and 2015, and has seven further top tens to his name, but his final round finish 12 months ago was frustrating for the reigning Race to Dubai Champion.
The four-time Major Champion had been firmly in contention on the back nine of the Rolex Series tournament before finding the water at the 18th to surrender a bogey and miss out on a play-off by one shot.
The 33-year-old bounced back to top the season-long Rankings, lifting the Harry Vardon Trophy on his last visit to Dubai in November, and is hoping for a strong performance in his first event of the year.
“It’s really nice to be back,” said McIlroy. “I’ve had a lot of great memories here and success over the years at the Emirates but feel like I have a little bit of unfinished business with how the tournament ended for me last year here.
“It wasn’t quite the way I wanted to finish it off. But I went on from that week and played really well and had a great year.
“It’s been nice to try to take a little bit of time away, and try to sort of distance myself from the game of golf for at least a month or two, and sort of recharge and reset and try to start 2023 with renewed optimism and a sort of full tank and ready to go.
“I’m sure there will be a little bit of rust to start the week but hopefully I can shake that off. I’ve got a great record here, so I have great confidence in that.
“I first played this tournament in 2006. So I’ve been coming here for a long time, 17 years. I’ve got a level of comfort here. I like starting my year here. I have a lot of friends. I called this place home for four years. I like it. I get great support here with the crowds that come out.”
IRISH TEE TIMES …. 35th Edition Hero Dubai Desert Classic, Emirates Club, Dubai.
- 7.10am – Tom McKibbin (10 tee)
- 7.40am – Rory McIlroy (10th tee)
- 8am – Padraig Harrington (10th tee)
- 12 noon – Shane Lowry (1st tee)
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