Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)
World Number One Rory McIlroy believes he has “turned a corner” with his swing as he prepares to begin his assault on the WGC - Accenture Match Play Championship.
McIlroy is returning to action this week after a four-week break, which followed his first outing since switching to Nike equipment.
On that occasion the Northern Irishman missed the cut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, but he is confident he can display better form in Tucson.
“I’m actually much happier with how I’m swinging the club,” said McIlroy.
“The clubs were performing fine in Abu Dhabi, it was just the fact that I wasn’t swinging at my best. But I did a lot of good work over the past ten days and I feel like I’ve turned a corner with my swing. I’ve got it back on track.
“I feel like I'm coming into this event prepared and ready and swinging the club well, which is nice, and I'm hitting the ball well.
“Hopefully that can translate into playing some good golf and getting quite far into this week.”
McIlroy’s first task is to overcome Shane Lowry, a former team-mate of his at amateur level.
“It’ll be a lot of fun. We’ve been talking about it a bit,” he said.
“If we’d have thought a few years ago playing in the European team championships at Western Gailes that we’d be playing in the first round of the Match Play here in a few years’ time … it’s pretty cool to think where we’ve come from.”
The Dove Mountain venue holds fond memories for McIlroy, who finished runner-up to Hunter Mahan in this event 12 months ago.
“It's usually my first tournament back in the US and it's nice to come back to somewhere that feels a little bit familiar,” he added.
“I think I can draw on the confidence or the memories from last year getting to the final.
“I've played well on this golf course before, and hopefully I can do that again.
“I’m looking forward to it. I love the golf course here. It’s a great course for match play. You can be really aggressive and make a lot of birdies.”