• European Tour

McIlroy ready to cement his No. 1 status

ESPN staff
May 24, 2012
Rory McIlroy wants to win this week - and many more times this season © Getty Images

Rory McIlroy is convinced he is now the best player in the world and intends to prove that over the remainder of the 2012 season.

McIlroy is currently No. 1 in the world rankings but it is a position he has swapped with closest rival Luke Donald five times already during the current season, a reflection of how little there is to choose between the two men.

The Northern Irishman is confident that state of affairs does not accurately reflect his superiority, however, believing at his best there is no-one who can defeat him.

"You have to believe that you're the best and certainly I do," McIlroy told the Telegraph. "On my day, I believe I can beat anyone in the world."

He added: "I started thinking of myself as one of the elite players. There's a big difference between having the potential to be the best in the world and actually thinking you are the best.

"It's hard to walk around saying, 'I'm the best'. But you just have to believe in it and be quietly confident."

Despite winning his maiden major title - an eight-shot victory at the US Open - last year, it was nevertheless Donald - who won four times around the world - who was named European Tour player of the year by his peers at this week's awards ceremony.

McIlroy believes the Englishman deserved the award and, perhaps also with a nod to the old dominance of Tiger Woods, realises where he can still improve his own performances to really underline his authority.

"Nobody played as well as Luke for the whole 12 months, he fully deserved that award," McIlroy said. "It's all about finding that capability when you're not playing to your best to come out on top. That's what I'm trying to learn."

The 23-year-old hopes to start on that path with victory this week in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. It is a course that holds some good memories for him, but is also an event he has struggled at in the past.

"This is a golf course I love," he said. "I've been coming here to watch the World Match Play since I was 10. I remember when I was 12, staying with the [Sam] Torrance family and playing this course every day for a week. I have some great memories of this place."

"[My parents] used to drop me on the first at 8am and I didn't see them until 6pm. It was great, it is great. This event has so much tradition and history that every European wants to win it."

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