McIlroy eyes green jacket after stellar 2014

Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:07am EST
 
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By Matt Smith

DUBAI (Reuters) - As he picked up the European money list trophy for the second time in three seasons on Sunday, Rory McIlroy had two words to say when asked for his goals for 2015: "Green Jacket".

To golfers, that phrase means one thing -- winning the U.S. Masters, the only major championship to elude the Northern Irishman.

"It's not something I thought possible, I will work hard and make sure I'm ready for that," McIlroy told reporters after tying for second at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, the European Tour season-ender.

Winning in Augusta will be tough -- no European has done it since Jose Maria Olazabal in 1999 -- yet world number one McIlroy is well equipped to end the drought after a season in which he claimed a maiden British Open title, a second U.S. PGA crown and two other European Tour victories.

"In terms of ball striking, I've driven it better, which is a huge part of my game," McIlroy told reporters.

"When I drive it well I can give myself shorter irons into greens and more opportunities for birdies. My mid-range putting has been very good this year."

The 25-year-old admitted the pressure of being the world's best had been difficult to handle.

"I used to be uncomfortable. There's added scrutiny and there's added criticism," said McIlroy. "But I learned to deal with it. It's just part of the title. I want to keep it for as long as I possibly can."   Continued...

 
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his shot from the second tee during the final round of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai November 23, 2014. REUTERS/Nikhil Monteiro