(Reuters) - Former world number one Rory McIlroy is confident that he has left his injury problems behind and is keen to close out the season in style by winning a third Race to Dubai title.
The four-time major winner’s participation in the Turkish Airlines Open was thrown into doubt after he ruptured ankle ligaments in July while playing a friendly game of football with his friends.
The injury cost him his number one world ranking and a chance to defend his British Open title at St Andrews, but the Northern Irishman now says he is fit enough to get back into the hunt for titles.
The current world number three made his comeback with a 17th-placed finish at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in mid-August and played in three FedEx Cup play-off events before starting the new PGA Tour season with a tie for 26th in the Frys.com Open in California.
“Health-wise, I‘m pretty much back to where I need to be. I’ve started to train the way I was before the injury again,” McIlroy told a pre-tournament news conference on Thursday.
”So trying to get my game back into the shape that I know that I can and feel like I’ve made a few steps in the right direction.
The Turkish Airlines Open kicks off the Final Series, a lucrative four-tournament series that brings the curtain down on the European season with the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in November being the last.
”I want to try and get back into contention and no better place than this week,“ said McIlroy, who leads the European Tour’s Race to Dubai currently. ”I’d like to win The Race to Dubai. I’d like to win at least one of last three events that I‘m playing.
”If I was to go from then to the end of the season without another win, especially with how I was playing up until that point, it would be very disappointing.
“It’s sort of been two steps forward and one step back a little bit since I’ve come back from injury, and I would just like to keep moving forward these next four weeks and try to finish the season on a positive note.”
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar and Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly