For Rory McIlroy it was a 105 kilometres drive from the front gates of the Abu Dhabi Golf Club to the front doors of the iconic Bedouin tent styled clubhouse at the Emirates Club in Dubai.
Dubai has long been McIlroy’s second home and it is the only location in the world where he’s won not once, but four times.
And after yet another ‘all so near’ finish in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship returning to Dubai brings back so many fond victory memories for McIlroy.
He won a first Tour title in capturing the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic and three years ago won a second on the multi-award winning Majlis course. In between, McIlroy’s won two DP World Tour Championship crowns on the Jumeriah Estates Earth Course.
McIlroy’s last taste of success was over 450-days ago but in the bigger picture he left Abu Dhabi with his body intact and that is in stark contrast to a year ago when he travelled in pain from South Africa to Dubai to undergo an MRI that revealed the extent of what was a rib injury.
“The great thing heading to Dubai this compared to a year ago is that I am feeling good,” said McIlroy.
“Though in saying that I’ll probably take a day off (Monday). It’s been quite a build-up to competing in Abu Dhabi and and playing every day and practising.”
“Look, it’s just something I’m going to have to keep on top of. It’s something that I’m wary of now and know that there’s certain vulnerabilities in my body like there is with everyone. I used to have to look after my lower back in the early days and now that’s fine.”
“So, I’m just going to have to look after this for a while but it’s totally fine. I’m 100 percent and yeah, as I say, I can’t wait to get at it again this week in Dubai.”
“The great thing is mentally I feel great. It felt great to get another tournament under my belt. It’s a great start to the year. I have no complaints. My body held up really well. My game was probably better than I expected it to be. So, I’m really happy with the week.”