THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rory McIlroy will tee it up here at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge on the heels of his first victory this year just a few days ago in Australia.
Despite bearing the brunt of criticism for most of the year, McIlroy maintained Wednesday that he believed he was on the verge of successful results.
“Obviously, it was nice to win and it was nice to get a win before the end of the season,” he said. “But I felt like my game the last couple of months has been on an upward trend and it's been improving all the time. It was nice that some of the hard work and the practice that I have put in came to fruition last week. It was nice the way I won as well, battling with Adam [Scott] down the stretch, I guess, in his home country and hanging in there and being able to just sort of tip him on the last.”
Even though he hadn’t triumphed in over a year, McIlroy said he didn’t feel like finding the winner’s circle was an absolute necessity.
“Did I need the win? Probably not,” he answered. “Was it nice to get the win? Of course. But I felt like I saw enough good golf in there to know that it was very close, and it wasn't going to be long before I did win.
“What I was happy with the most was the limited amount of times that I have gotten in contention this year, I have played well. I have played well down the stretch. I've played well under pressure, and that is something that I really have improved on the last few years.”
Despite rounding into form, McIlroy isn’t sad about the year ending after this week.
“No, I need a break. I'm happy this is the last event of the year. It will be nice to have a few weeks off. As I said, this last part of the season was all about trying to build momentum going into 2014. I feel like for the most part I've done that. Couple of good finishes in Asia. I got a win in Australia. I'd love to get myself in the mix this week and finish the season off on a really high note and go into the off‑season and into the 2014 in a really positive frame of mind.”