RORY McIlroy admits it will be “tedious and nasty” but the world No 1 is confident next week’s appearance in the High Court in Dublin won’t leave him mentally scarred heading into his career Grand Slam bid at The Masters in April.
Once his final putt drops in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the 25-year-old will head to the Irish capital, where he is expected to take the witness box on Tuesday at the start of a case concerning a bitter fall-out with his former management company, Horizon.
An attempt to reach an out-of-court settlement has already failed, meaning McIlroy is facing a public grilling and the four-times major winner admits it’s an episode he’ll be happy to see reach a conclusion. “It’s not something that I would want anyone to go through,” he said. “It’s a very sort of tedious and nasty process at times.”
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Asked if the court appearance was starting to play on his mind, McIlroy insisted: “No. I’ve been concentrating on this event and practising and that stuff is much more important to me than what’s going to happen next week.”
He admitted, however, that he can’t wait to travel to America after ther case is over to start his 2015 PGA Tour campaign in next month’s Honda Classic then continuing the build-up to Augusta, where he’ll be bidding to join the elite band of players to win all four of the game’s majors.
“I’m looking forward to heading to the States regardless with it off my mind and not having to deal with it or think about it – that will be it,” added McIlroy. “It will be nice once it’s over and done with.”
Asked if there was still a chance of the case being settled out of court, he said: “You’d have to ask my lawyers about that.”
It was in this event six years ago that McIlroy recorded his first pro win after conjuring up a majestic bunker shot from the back of the 18th green.
“I was just saying to my caddie JP [Fitzgerald] that it’s not been a bad six years,” he admitted, smiling. “I remember after that victory I felt my game had moved to another level, which was nice. Now it would be great to come back here and get back on the victory trail. It feels like it has been a while since my last win.”
That was actually the US PGA Championship last August, since when he’s recorded three runner-up finishes in a row, most recently in the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship.
“I think from tee to green I’m happy with all aspects of my game,” he confessed. “If The Masters was next week, I would be confident of doing well.”
On a sad note, yesterday’s afternoon pro-am was cancelled after a former Emirates Golf club captain, Ashok Bakshi, died following a heart attack on the practice range.