Rory McIlroy relishing busy schedule in build-up to Masters

Rory McIlroy in Abu Dhabi

Rory McIlroy in Abu Dhabi

Rory McIlroy is cranking up the output all the way to Augusta, continuing with his defence of the Dubai Desert Classic next week.

Having secured a third-place finish at Abu Dhabi last weekend, the Hollywood man is relishing the road that leads to Magnolia Drive.

"I feel my game is in good shape going into this run of golf that I've got coming up," he said. "It's a busy schedule that I've got going into the Masters [in April].

"I would have liked to have started the season just that little bit better with a win, but I feel my performance here, I can take plenty away from it and build gradually up towards the first major of the season at Augusta.”

McIlroy will start his PGA Tour season next month with a debut at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera in California, and will also return to Arnold Palmer's tournament at Bay Hill before the Match Play.

Throw in the Honda Classic and it adds up to six events before Augusta, giving himself a week at home in Florida before heading across the state line to feast in Georgia.

He added: "I don't know if I would say that I was under-golfed going into Augusta the last couple of years, but just the way the schedule is, there's a couple more tournaments that I'd like to play.

“The WGC Match Play is before the Masters again. Last year it was after.

“So a couple of extra tournaments, but I don't mind that. It means I'll be in good form and any sort of rust or anything I need to work on in my game will be hopefully eradicated by that point."

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