Rory McIlroy sets sights on elusive Masters victory next year
Last Updated: 12/09/19 6:06am
Rory McIlroy celebrated being named PGA Tour Player of the Year for the third time, but he is already planning ahead for next year's Masters.
McIlroy was clearly surprised when he was presented with the Jack Nicklaus award, by Jack Nicklaus himself, after topping the voting from his fellow PGA Tour professionals ahead of current world No 1 Brooks Koepka.
The 30-year-old captured the PGA Tour's flagship event, The Players Championship, in March for the first time, and he ended the season with a dominant victory at the Tour Championship which earned him his second FedExCup title, and a $15m bonus.
But after another frustrating year at the majors, McIlroy is aiming to put that right in 2020 and has made winning the Masters his No 1 priority once again as he looks to atone for a number of near-misses at Augusta National.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, here's what McIlroy had to say on his desire to win the Green Jacket, the respect he has for Koepka, the controversial new major schedule and much more ....
McILROY ON THE MASTERS
I'd give quite a lot [to win it]! It's the one left for me. I've been very fortunate and lucky enough to win pretty much everything else there is to win in golf, so that's the last piece in the puzzle.
I feel after a season like I've had that I'm more ready than ever to go and try and claim it and win it. Every time you go back there you get more and more comfortable, so hopefully next year is the year.
I feel like I'm confident enough in my game that I'll have a good chance next year.
ON WHO HE VOTED FOR
I voted for Brooks to win. I thought it was pretty tight. Brooks had an unbelievable year, won another major and played fantastically.
He beat me in Memphis pretty convincingly in July and then I got him back in Atlanta a few weeks ago. I thought it was going to be pretty tight and I didn't know whether the major that he won was going to sway the vote one way or another.
It's nice when you're voted on by your peers and you come out on top, it's a nice feeling.
ON WINNING THE PLAYERS
It's always nice to get a win under your belt at the start of the season and that's the first really big tournament of the year. It's a place that I've struggled at for a while and I think the move back to March meant that the course played more favourably for me.
I could hit driver more, could be a little more aggressive and it was a great place to get a win. That obviously then set me up for what has been a great season.
ON THE COMPACT MAJOR SCHEDULE
We're all creatures of habit and it felt very bunched together for quite a lot of us, but it's the way it is. We don't make the schedules and we are told where to play, so you have to be ready to play.
I thought it worked well. I think people still had enough time to get ready for each big event. It keeps people a little bit more interested, particularly on this side of the pond with the FedExCup ending a little earlier.
It's an adjustment for everyone, but I think by the time next year comes around I don't think you'll hear too much discussion about the schedule anymore.
ON PLAYING POST-FEDEXCUP
It's not the first time that I've won a bit and at this point I play for that, but at the same time you need time off to reflect and recharge the batteries.
Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland
I'm heading to Wentworth on Sunday and then play the Dunhill Links Championship the week after, and then I get back to Florida and have three weeks off before going to Asia.
I'll play in Japan and China and then I'll head to Dubai, so I've still got quite a bit of travel coming up, but then after that I think I'm going to take eight weeks off to relax and reflect on what's been a great year and try to get myself back up again for 2020.
ON THE STATE OF HIS GAME
I think if I look back at other years where I've had success, whether that be 2012 or 2014, I feel like I'm a better golfer now than I was then and that's all I can ask for.
I feel like I've improved, I feel like I've learnt a few things about myself and my game and that gives me a lot of confidence going forward.
It's been a wonderful stretch for me since I turned pro 12 years ago to now, I've been on an incredible journey and I feel like I'm not even at the halfway point yet. I've got a lot left to look forward to.