Rory McIlroy: Masters win is 'main goal' for 2017

Rory McIlroy plans to return a month before the Masters at Augusta
Rory McIlroy plans to return a month before the Masters at Augusta

Rory McIlroy has singled out a Masters win as his main priority for 2017 as he prepares to return to action next month from injury at a WGC event in Mexico.

The world number three is recovering from a stress fracture of his rib and has not played since losing a play-off at the South Africa Open in January.

"I still have tournaments to get ready for Augusta, which is the biggest tournament of my year," said McIlroy.

"That's my main goal and will continue as my main goal until I win it."

The Northern Irishman has a best finish of fourth at Augusta in 2015 but will return to the first major of the season in April with high hopes of bettering that performance.

"I've no problem saying that. It's the one major I'm yet to win. As long as I'm good for that, I don't care what it takes," added McIlroy, in an interview with the Guardian newspaper.external-link

The 27-year-old boasts four career majors to date but has yet to collect one of golf's premier prizes since winning the US PGA Championship in 2014.

"There is nothing like that feeling of winning a major. I won the FedEx Cup last year and that was great, as was being part of the Ryder Cup the following week, but for me winning a major - there is no greater feeling in golf.

"I haven't won in a couple of years but the greatest players in the game have gone through stretches of no majors in a couple of years.

"Jack Nicklaus went through a stretch from 1967 to 1970. Tiger won 14 of them from 1997 to 2008, but that's not normal. That is so far from the norm. I was averaging one a year over a four-year stretch which was fantastic and I could do it again."

McIlroy has missed the Abu Dhabi Championship, the Dubai Desert Classic and the Genesis Open because of his injury and is also sitting out this week's Honda Classic.

"I could have probably pushed through to play the Honda Classic but I wanted to take that extra week to make sure and, even if it comes to the point where I'm not 100% comfortable, I'll take another couple of weeks off. But I'm on target for Mexico.

"My short game is as sharp as it has ever felt because that was all I could work on for a while. My golf should be sharp enough."

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