McIl­roy guns for ma­jor scalps

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

Aresur­gent Rory McIl­roy (car­i­ca­ture) is look­ing to end 2016 in style, start­ing by win­ning the pres­ti­gious World Golf Cham­pi­onships-HSBC Cham­pi­ons in Shang­hai this week.

But the PGA Tour’s new­ly­crowned FedEx Cup cham­pion will have to over­come all four of 2016’s first-time ma­jor win­ners and 40 of the world’s top 50 play­ers in a star-stud­ded field if he is to lift the ti­tle for the first time.

The list of cham­pi­ons of the tour­na­ment dubbed “Asia’s Ma­jor” reads like a who’s who of golf.

But the North­ern Ir­ish­man’s il­lus­tri­ous name is miss­ing from a WGC-HSBC Cham­pi­ons roll of hon­our fea­tur­ing Phil Mick­el­son, Dustin John­son, Martin Kaymer and Bubba Wat­son, some­thing McIl­roy would love to put right.

“Here, yes, I’d love to tick that one off,” McIl­roy told AFP.

“I’ve won in Hong Kong be­fore. I’ve won in Shang­hai but it wasn’t an of­fi­cially sanc­tioned event at the time (the Shang­hai Masters in 2011).

“I’d love to win in China again and I’ve played well enough on this golf course to win but just haven’t re­ally done enough when it mat­tered. Hope­fully this year will be the year to change that.”

The good news for McIl­roy is that he ap­pears fi­nally to have put his in­jury­wracked 2015 be­hind him.

McIl­roy ripped an­kle lig­a­ments play­ing foot­ball and had to miss his Bri­tish Open de­fence and a large chunk of last sea­son.

And so wretched were his 2015 for­tunes that when he got to Shang­hai a year ago he was floored by a dodgy sand­wich and se­vere food poi­son­ing which meant he could not prac­tise.

McIl­roy did man­age to tee off 12 months ago and fin­ished tied 11th, the only time he has failed to make the top six at She­shan.

“I’ve avoided the club sand­wich this week,” joked McIl­roy. “The aim is to get out of China in one piece. I’m tak­ing ev­ery pre­cau­tion to be in good shape,” he laughed. McIl­roy still went on to win the Race to Dubai and it seemed his game had turned the cor­ner, more so when he won the Ir­ish Open in May. – AFP

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