Published Wednesday, 29 January 2014
Rory McIlroy will be chasing success in Dubai. (© Getty)
Having dropped from the top spot to sixth in the world rankings, the Holywood native will now be looking to build on the form that has seen him chalk up five top-10 finishes in his last seven starts.
"I'm playing well," McIlroy said, at a pre-tournament press conference.
"I played well in Abu Dhabi and feel like my game has come on a little bit since then as well, with the wedge play and stuff.
"I feel good driving the ball well, which is a big key for me, so hopefully I can keep that up."
It's always good to get a win early on in the season, and it would be nice to be up there at least and challenging for the trophy on Sunday.
That run of good form includes McIlroy's big win over Masters champion Adam Scott in the Australia Open back in December, and the 24-year-old is well aware of the importance of that victory.
"I felt like I had been playing well up until that point. I was showing some good form - played well in China, played well in Korea, played well in Dubai, but just didn't quite get the win," he said.
"I didn't think a win was necessary, because I felt like my game was coming back into the shape that I wanted it to, but getting the win down there was very nice. Very satisfying.
"It was great to end the year with a win."
McIlroy added: "For the last few months of 2013, it was all about just trying to build some momentum going into this year, and I feel like I've done that."
Earlier this month, he lost out on the Abu Dhabi Championship title to Pablo Larrazabal - by a single stroke - with the disappointment arguably due to a rules blunder.
While that two-shot penalty left McIlroy fuming, Tiger Woods will be less happy with his start to the year, having missed the cut last week at Torrey Pines - where he previously racked up eight wins.
© UTV News