Rory McIlroy admits one of his goals for 2016 is to win the Masters in April and achieve a career grand slam. Six-time major winner Lee Trevino of the United States recently told reporters that he expected McIlroy to achieve a career slam at least twice over, which is something McIlroy hopes for as well.
The world No2 said: "I'd like to think by the end of my career I'd have hopefully won each major more than once. I don't know if I'm going to do it, I hope I do, but Trevino seems to think that I will so you need to maybe go talk to him. Of course I hope so, but I don't think it takes any pressure off going into Augusta. Of course I want to win there one day but I've got hopefully 20-plus years of giving it a go and hopefully by that 20th year I'm not going for my first green jacket, I'm going for my third or fourth, so we'll see."
McIlroy faces a year of stiff opposition from world No1 Jordan Spieth and No3 Jason Day of Australia, and he said that tough opposition always brings out the best in him. He also referred to Tiger Woods, sidelined with a back injury and now drifted down to world 436, and to one of Woods's main opponents in his heyday, Phil Mickelson. McIlroy said he would love to play against a fit and healthy Tiger Woods.
"I sort of feel that the competition brings the best out of me and I think Phil has even said that maybe if Phil didn't go up against Tiger in his prime, he would have won more majors, but he always said that Tiger brought out the best in him," said McIlroy. "So I would have love to, I still hopefully if he can get healthy, I would still love to have a crack at him during the stretch of a major, I'd love that, just once."
McIlroy is banking on a tried and tested early-season routine to bring him a first title of the year in the Dubai Desert Classic on 4-7 February. The world number two and four-times major champion has won the tournament twice, including in 2015, and feels very much at home at the Emirates Golf Club.
"I guess the last couple times I've played here I've done pretty well, so I'm sort of going for three in a row in Dubai with winning here last year and then with the DP World at the end of last season," McIlroy told reporters in Dubai on 3 February, also referring to his victory in the end-of-season World Tour Championship in Dubai last November. "It seems to bring out my best golf. I've got great memories from the Emirates here, winning my first tournament, making my first cut as a pro."