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Drained McIlroy admits 'it's been a long year'

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Only two tournaments remain on Rory McIlroy’s 2013 schedule.

And while, yes, he’s excited about the prospect of ending his winless streak either at this week’s Australian Open or next week’s Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, he’s also looking forward to seeing the calendar flip to 2014. 

And why not?

This was a year of transition – and controversy – for the former world No. 1. 

The equipment change. The walkoff. The struggles. The management change. The relationship rumors. 

“It’s been a long year,” he told reporters in Australia on Wednesday, “I guess mentally more than physically. Physically, golf doesn’t take that much out of you, but mentally it’s quite draining, especially this year for me.

“It’s not just the golf and being frustrated with my game, but having to answer the questions and having to come up with reasons why I’m not playing well and all that stuff.”

McIlroy, who is playing the Australian Open for the first time since 2006, begins his first round at 12:10 p.m. local time (8:10 p.m. ET Wednesday). He is playing alongside Geoff Ogilvy and Matt Jones.