January 13, 2015 / 12:47 PM / 4 years ago

McIlroy keeps mystery goals for 2015 hidden in back pocket

DUBAI (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy’s goals for 2015 are tucked away in his back pocket, scribbled on a boarding pass during a flight from Dublin to Dubai, and the world number one will not look at them again until his season is over in December.

World number one and defending champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after finishing his fourth and final round of the Australian Open golf tournament at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney November 30, 2014. REUTERS/David Gray

The Northern Irishman performs the same ritual annually en route to his first tournament of the year, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

“Every year, I’m flying here … I write my goals down in the back of my boarding pass, I put it in my wallet and I memorize them, but I don’t look at them until the end of the year,” McIlroy told reporters in Abu Dhabi, where he has finished second in three of the past four seasons but is yet to win in the UAE capital.

“In my back pocket is a boarding pass with my goals for this year. I don’t want to share them. I’ll take that out at the end of the year and see how well I’ve done.”

McIlroy may find it tough to better 2014 in which he won two majors — the British Open and the U.S. PGA Championship — to double his career tally to four, reclaimed the world number one ranking, topped the European money list and was part of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team.

“I didn’t achieve everything that I wanted to last year. I wanted to have six wins, I only had four, but still a good year,” said a laughing McIlroy who revealed there are seven items on this year’s list.

One is likely to be winning the U.S. Masters in Augusta, the only major to elude him.

McIlroy, 25, will play Abu Dhabi and then Dubai two weeks later before flying to the U.S. for Palm Beach’s Honda Classic and Miami’s World Golf Championships in February and March.

“Then (I’ll) see what my schedule is leading up to the Masters,” said McIlroy.

He has yet to decide on the Houston Open, a week before Augusta starts on April 9.

“It really depends how I feel. If I feel I need more golf, I’ll play. If not, I’ll probably take it off,” said McIlroy, who will cut his playing schedule to 21-22 tournaments this year and took almost a month off before beginning his preparations for 2015 on Jan. 5.

“I’ve got a good routine and mental strategy going into Majors now, where I try not to let too much affect me. I go into my own little world for those couple of weeks.”

Reporting by Matt Smith, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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