FORMER world No 1 golfer Rory McIlroy feels like he has his mojo back and wants to win two major championships this year to make up for a poor season in 2013.
The young Northern Irishman ruled the golfing roost in 2012, winning five titles, but a change of equipment and some off-course legal distractions coincided with a slump in form that has seen him slide to sixth in the rankings.
McIlroy ended a 12-month drought by landing last month’s Australian Open title and he said that victory had restored his belief going into the new season.
“I feel that my game is really coming back, going down to Australia and winning,” the 24-year-old said.
“Beating [world No 2] Adam Scott down there was really nice and while it doesn’t make up for the other weeks during the year, it gives me some momentum for 2014.
“I won a major in 2011 and 2012, but not in 2013 so I’ll try to make up for that with two this year.”
McIlroy, who announced his engagement to former world No 1 tennis player Caroline Wozniacki earlier this week, said he was learning to handle the pressure of competing for golf’s top prizes.
“I’m so much better down the stretch and so much better under pressure than I used to be,” he added.
“If I give myself a chance in these tournaments, I know I’ll have a great opportunity to win.
“I feel I am very close, I’m confident with my game and confident where it’s going,” added McIlroy, who won the US Open in 2011 and the US PGA Championship a year later.
“I didn’t have the greatest of seasons in 2013 but I feel like I’ll definitely make up for that in 2014.”
Meanwhile, Australia’s Scott narrowly beat Tiger Woods to win the award as player of the year in voting by the Golf Writers Association of America.
The GWAA takes into account more than just the American PGA Tour, and Scott won four times, including the Masters, and joined Jason Day in winning the World Cup for Australia. Out of the 218 votes cast, Scott won the honour by five votes.
Woods won five times on the PGA Tour, but failed to add to his tally of 14 majors. He also won the US money title and the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average on the PGA Tour. The 38-year-old had previously won player of the year awards handed out by the PGA Tour and the PGA of America.
In a superb year, Scott, pictured left, also won The Barclays, the Australian PGA and the Australian Masters.
Inbee Park, who this year sealed victory in the US Women’s Open, and Kenny Perry, 53, won the prizes for female and senior players of the year.