Rory McIlroy is hoping for a good performance on Thursday, as he begins the defence of his Honda Classic title in Palm beach Gardens, Florida.
McIlroy returns to the course that secured his maiden ascent to the summit of world golf, with last year’s win boosting him to no.1 in the world rankings. However, McIlroy has struggled for form so far this season, missing the cut in Abu Dhabi and losing to Shane Lowry in the first round of last week’s WGC Match Play Championship.
McIlroy is confident of getting off the mark for the 2013 season by retaining the Honda Classic this weekend. He believes his recent struggles are just down to timing issues and that the problem should resolve itself. However, some critics believe that McIlroy is struggling to make the transition from his trusted Titleist clubs to the new Nike versions, following his mega-bucks deal with the sporting giant. McIlroy defended his new clubs, “I’m hitting the ball so much better off the tee, which is a huge positive.”
“I think it’s more a timing thing than anything else.” McIlroy told reporters.”Everything else was actually pretty good out there. I just need to go and work on them.”
McIlroy knows there is a long season ahead and believes talks of a dip in form are premature, leaving him with plenty of time to turn his performances around. “I’m only two tournaments into the season,” McIlroy said. “I’ve still got 20 more.”
The current World No. 1 is paired with reigning Open Champion Ernie Els and America’s Mark Wilson for Thursday’s opening round.
Tiger Woods will be hoping to go one better this year, having fallen short in his pursuit of McIlroy during last year’s competition despite shooting a final day 62. Woods has been drawn in group 17, along with Dustin Johnson and Martin Kaymer.