HONG KONG: He may be world No. 1 and top of the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic, but Rory McIlroy said yesterday that he wants to play even better next year.
The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland, who has two Major titles under his belt, has enjoyed a stellar season. It culminated in him winning The Race to Dubai at the weekend after he finished third at the Singapore Open.
He had already clinched the PGA Tour money race, becoming only the second man after Luke Donald to win both the European and PGA money titles. He was also part of the European Ryder Cup team that snatched victory at the death.
But speaking ahead of the UBS Hong Kong Open, one of his favorite tournaments, defending champion McIlroy said: “I just want to keep improving as a player.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to overhaul your game in any way, but just keep making improvements on different aspects of the game, whether it be your bunker play or your chipping from semi-rough or anything like that.
“There’s always different aspects to your game you can improve and I’ll keep trying to do that, obviously. I feel like I’ve gradually progressed and gradually improved every year. That’s something I still want to do going into 2013.”
McIlroy has ultimately set his sights on Colin Montgomerie’s eight European merit wins, and even Jack Nicklaus’s 18 Majors. But he declined to set any firm goals for next year.
“You pick these awards up at the end of the year and it’s always a nice honor, it is always very special. But looking forward to next year, I just want to keep improving and try to become a better golfer,” he said.
“If I can do that, then more tournaments and more Majors will come. I’m not naming any goals or targets like that, I just want to keep trying to improve and keep trying to get better.” The Hong Kong Open tees off tomorrow.
Meantime, Matt Kuchar insisted yesterday that he has moved on from the United States’ devastating Ryder Cup defeat, as he strives to banish the painful memories of Medinah with victory in Hong Kong.
Kuchar went down to Lee Westwood 3 and 2 in their Ryder Cup singles match, a loss which contributed to the hosts’ last-day capitulation as Europe roared back on the final day to retain the trophy in September. The 34-year-old American is ranked 17th in the world and won The Players Championship in May. “Every week you start off from scratch,” he said. “No matter what you do the week before, the week before doesn’t matter.
“The Ryder Cup was six weeks ago or thereabouts, and I’ve played a number of events since and I’ve been able to move on.
“It was an amazing event. The Ryder Cup was, and seems to be every year, just a fantastic event. This year was again just amazing.
“The US team was on the losing side but if you look at it from a greater perspective, it’s one of those things that continues to attract fans to the game of golf. The nature of the sport and of us is such that you learn to move on.”