Rory McIlroy is focused on finding the “final piece of the puzzle” as he bids to end his major drought in 2024.
McIlroy won two Rolex Series events on the DP World Tour last year to claim the Race to Dubai for a fifth time and enjoyed a career-best performance to help Europe regain the Ryder Cup in Rome.
The world number two has also recorded seven top 10s in his last eight majors but remains without a win since the 2014 US PGA Championship at Valhalla, which will also host the second major of the year in May.
“I’m excited for the year,” McIlroy said before getting his season under way in the inaugural Dubai Invitational, with a title defence of the Dubai Desert Classic following next week.
“This is my 18th full season on tour, which is mad to think about. But I’m as excited as I was for the first one. I think every new year [brings] new opportunities, new goals.
“My consistency has really been there over the last couple of years, without winning one of the big ones.
“I think that’s the final piece of the puzzle for me, especially coming out of Covid and sort of going through some dips in my game and then coming back up and playing so well the last couple years.
“The final piece of the puzzle is trying to knock off one of those four.”
McIlroy’s Ryder Cup team-mate Tommy Fleetwood expressed similar sentiments as the Dubai-based world number 15 set his sights on a first tournament win since the Nedbank Golf Challenge in November 2022.
Fleetwood, who has recorded six top 10s in his last 10 starts worldwide, said: “I played really well last year, particularly from like early summer onwards, late spring. I think my consistency levels were great.
“Like most people in the world of golf, I don’t win anywhere near as much as I would like, so you’re always looking to that missing piece that would lead to you more victories.
“But overall, in terms of the depths of my performances throughout the year, I was very, very pleased, and to finish the world ranking in a high place again, knocking on the door of that top 10. Hopefully I can just carry on with that consistency and doing the right things and try to kick on.”
The Dubai Invitational features a 72-hole strokeplay tournament played concurrently with a three-day pro-am team event, with Sunday featuring professionals only.