• Golf

McIlroy determined to return to world No. 1

ESPN staff
October 23, 2013
Rory McIlroy narrowly missed out on his first title of the year last weekend © Getty Images

Rory McIlroy is determined to return to the top spot in the world rankings, although he insists he is more concerned about winning a tournament in 2013.

The Northern Irishman missed out on his first title of the year after finishing a runner-up at last weekend's Korea Open by one shot, and while his struggles on the fairways have been coupled recently with revelations about his relationship with Caroline Wozniacki, McIlroy believes he is coming back to his best form.

"It hasn't been my best year but I've still got a lot of determination and motivation to get back to world No. 1," McIlroy said, speaking ahead of the BMW Masters.

"Not being world No. 1 doesn't make me more hungry, because it doesn't matter if I'm No. 3 or No. 63. That doesn't really make much difference to me. What makes me hungry is that I haven't won any tournaments this year and the burning desire to win more is still very much in me."

The 24-year-old is down at 63 in the Race to Dubai, and is targeting strong runs at the next few events to get himself into the top 60 to qualify for the European Tour's grand finale next month at the DP World Tour Championship.

"I'm just outside [qualifying] at the minute, but a good performance this week could make all the difference," he said. "There's big prize money [£720,000 to the winner] and lots of points up for grabs. This is a hugely important week for me - as is next week [at the HSBC Champions tournament, also in Shanghai]. I want to give myself a shot at defending my title.

"But there's no sense of urgency. I'm not putting any pressure on myself. I have five events left this year and obviously it would be nice to finish 2013 with a win. But if I don't, it's not the end of the world.

Meanwhile, FedEx Cup champion Henrik Stenson is set to undergo an MRI scan on his wrist.

"I am hoping to get it sorted out over the next couple of days," he said. "But at the moment I'm not in great shape and I'm not certain of playing this week here in Shanghai."

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