• "I feel like I could do very well," he said of 2016 chances
• Became European Tour's No.1 for third time in four years
Rory McIlroy has issued a warning to his rivals by admitting he’s almost back to his best after winning the DP World Tour Championship and also the Race to Dubai for the third time in four years.
The 26-year-old fought off the challenge of Andy Sullivan in Dubai to clinch the title – his fourth of the season after the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, WGC-Cadillac Match Play and the Wells Fargo Championship – reaching 21-under-par to beat the Englishman by one shot, despite finding water off the tee at the 17th.
And with no golf now for eight weeks, the world No.3 is happy with the state of his game following his first win since returning from the ankle injury that kept him out of the defence of his Open Championship title.
"All aspects of my game are in good shape now" - Rory McIlroy
“Honestly, I think I'm right there,” said Rory McIlroy. “The only thing that's been holding me back over the past few weeks was my putting. My ball-striking's right where I want it to be. So I think I'm right there.
“I just want to get as strong and as healthy as possible going into next year, and just keep on top of the things that I'm doing well and keep trying to chip away at the things I want to do a little bit better. All aspects of my game are in good shape now, and I think if my game is in this shape going into next year, I'd be very happy and feel like I could do very well.”
But looking back on 2015, the four-time major winner was disappointed with how things panned out, but revealed he was happy with some things he had achieved away from the golf course, before looking ahead once again to the Masters and the possibility of completing a career grand slam.
“I always put down a couple of goals that are not golf related, just things in my life that I would like to do better, as a person. There's a couple things I've been able to tick off that list,” said McIlroy, whose parents and girlfriend Erica Stoll were in Dubai. “But on the golf side, I guess just one, one thing I was able to tick off, which was this. Obviously I wanted to win majors. I wanted to improve in certain areas of my game, and didn't quite do that, but these things happen. You have to set yourself these lofty goals to try and get better.
“Every time you go to Augusta, there's a lot of hype. There was a lot of hype around myself this year. It's always going to be there until I get to put a green jacket on my back. It's obviously the first real goal of the year is to try and get ready for the Masters and be in as good of shape as possible going in there.”
Rory McIlroy :: European Tour's No.1
After a majorless 2015, will Rory McIlroy win one, or multiple, majors in 2016? Leave your thoughts in the 'Comments' section below.