Rory McIlroy admits he has half an eye on Luke Donald’s World Number One spot, and aims to move a step closer by winning this week’s KLM Open.
Northern Ireland’s US Open Champion is currently fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking, and will face the players ranked second and third – Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer – at Hilversumsche Golf Club.
“I’m not desperate, but it's definitely a goal that I've set for myself,” the 22 year old said.
“I feel as if it's very attainable. It might not be this year, but definitely into next year, I can give myself a very good platform to kick off the season next year if I end the season well.
“So all I want to do is try and get closer to Lee, obviously at Number Two and then to look at Number One, Luke's got a little bit of a lead at the minute and it would be nice to get closer to him.
“But at the end of the day, winning golf tournaments takes care of that. So I want to just concentrate on trying to play well and give myself chances to win every week that I play.”
McIlroy returned from a wrist injury sustained at the US PGA Championship last week, finishing third in Switzerland.
McIlroy, Westwood and Kaymer were all in the hunt on the final day before Thomas Björn’s stunning finished denied the trio, and McIlroy believes all three could be in contention again this week.
“I'm looking forward to it,” he added. “I played the KLM Open in 2008 at Kennemer, and I didn't play very well that week, and obviously I want to try and do a little better this week.
“It's another chance for me to give myself up in the World Rankings. There's Martin and Lee that are here, which is going to be a great challenge for me. I'm looking forward to hopefully getting into contention again with those guys up at the top of the leaderboard, and it will be a great weekend if we were all challenging for the title.
“I think the most positive thing coming off last week was how the wrist was and how the arm was. I felt it a little bit at the start of the week, but then as the week went on, you know, started to play more golf. It eased up and by the end of the week, it was totally fine.
“I got a little bit of physio on it last week and I'll probably still get a little bit this week just to make sure that it's okay. It feels 100 per cent, and you know, that was probably the biggest positive to come out of last week.
“I got myself into good position in the tournament early. Got myself off to a good start, and the last three rounds were good. I missed a few chances on the greens but four rounds in the 60s.
“So it was a great week for me, first week back, and it's the first week of the end of the year for me. I've got a long stretch coming up, and it was nice to start it on a positive note like that.”
One notable aspect of McIlroy’s display at Crans-sur-Sierre was his length off the tee, something he puts down to an intensive fitness regime paying dividends.
“I feel like the gym work has really paid off this year, and yeah, my body feels great, and I'm hitting the ball as long as ever,” he said.
“I'm hitting the ball probably longer than I ever have, which is a good - it's a big positive, and I've put quite a lot of work into going to the gym this year. I've changed my body shape a little bit and it seems to have paid off.”