ABU DHABI: World number one Rory McIlroy revealed on Tuesday he has a habit of writing down his season’s goals on the back of the boarding pass of the first flight he takes every year.
And while the 25-year-old Northern Irishman did not disclose his goals for 2015, one of the seven points that he has jotted down, has to revolve around a potential history-making victory at Augusta National.
A win at The Masters in the second week of April would put him in the rare company of Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen as the only players to have achieved a career grand slam in the modern era.
Speaking to the media before the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, where he begins his 2015 campaign in the European Tour event starting Thursday, McIlroy said: “Every year, I fly to Dubai to do a week or 10 days of prep before the Abu Dhabi Championship, which is usually my first tournament of the year.
“I write my goals down on the back of my boarding pass, memorise them, put it in my wallet and don’t look at them again until the end of the year.
“So, in the wallet in my back pocket right now is a boarding pass with my goals for the year.
“I don’t really want to share them with anyone else. They are just my little goals and I’ll take out that boarding pass at year’s end and see how well I’ve done.”
There is a lot of interest around McIlroy’s performance at the Masters, especially after he won the last two majors back-to-back – the Open Championship and the PGA Championship – and he said he hoped to deal with it through his well-set routine.
McIlroy, who indicated he may add Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill to his schedule and opt out of The Houston Open, will play five tournaments before driving down Magnolia Lane, and said: “I know what to anticipate leading up to Augusta.
“And for me it’s about trying to treat it the same way I have done and not put any more emphasis on it than there already is.
“It’s the first major of the year. People have been waiting for eight months for a major to come around. There’s so much buildup and hype going into Augusta, anyway.
“So it’s just about making sure I’m as well prepared as I possibly can be going into that event, and I feel like I’ve got a good routine and mental strategy going into majors now where I try not to let too much affect me.
“I try not to look at too much stuff and really just go into my own little world for those weeks.
“It’s been working pretty well, so I’ll try to just keep doing what I’ve been doing and keep to my routines, and if I can do that, that will give me the best possible chance to play well that week.”
A star-studded field in Abu Dhabi promises plenty of competition for McIlroy with world number two Henrik Stenson of Sweden, England’s world number six Justin Rose and American star Robbie Fowler — just three potential threats at the 10th anniversary of the event.
Three-time Abu Dhabi champion Martin Kaymer, Ryder Cup stars Jamie Donaldson and Victor Dubuisson as well as defending champion Pablo Larrazabal will also tee off at the ‘Gulf Swing’ opener before the Tour moves onto Qatar and then Dubai.
Another thought that must be occupying McIlroy’s mind is the legal case with his former management company, which is expected to reach a final decision towards the middle of February.
But the Ulsterman played it cool when asked about the case. “It’s no big deal, I’ll be okay at the end of the day,” McIlroy said.
“I just have to get up there and tell the truth. That’s all I need to do.
“I’ve literally not thought about it since whenever I had to talk to someone about it. I just go with what the lawyers say and they tell me to just sit tight and not talk much about it. That’s it.”