Rory McIlroy Focused On Closing Gap To World No.1 Koepka

Rory wants to get closer to the World No.1 spot this year in a hope to regain in it 2020

Rory McIlroy Focused On Closing Gap To World No.1 Koepka
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory wants to get closer to the World No.1 spot this year in a hope to regain in it 2020

Rory McIlroy Focused On Closing Gap To World No.1 Koepka

Brooks Koepka might not think that he and Rory McIlroy are rivals, but the Northern Irishman is aiming to close the gap on his American counterpart in the world rankings.

Koepka is currently top of the Official World Golf Ranking with McIlroy just behind.

Rory can't surpass Koepka this year due to the American's huge lead but McIlroy is hoping to get as close as possible in 2019 to regain the top spot next year.

"I want to get as many World Ranking points as I possibly can and try to close that gap on No. 1. So you know, pretty motivated coming into the week," McIlroy said in China ahead of this week's WGC-HSBC Champions.

"I feel like this year's went very well. I played very consistently.

"I think last week in Japan was my 17th Top-10 of the year, so I've played consistent golf and I've won a few times, as well. It was great to get the win at the Tour Championship and win the FedExCup.

"I started this year maybe like 8th or 9th in the world, so to see that progress and to play so well and get myself back up to No. 2 with a chance of closing that gap, and I don't think I'll be able to quite close it as -- get there by the end of this year.

"But if I play well the next few weeks, you know, I'll have a great platform going into next year."

Related: McIlroy responds to Koepka's rivalry comments

The four-time Major winner comes into this week's WGC after a third-place finish at the Zozo Championship, where Tiger Woods won his 82nd PGA Tour title.

McIlroy has become close friends with Woods in recent years and says that he has mellowed as a person since his earlier days.

"I think I'm in a fortunate position that I live quite close to him and we've been able to develop quite a good relationship, and I've seen in the private moments who he is in a person and what a great dad he is, and you know, how seriously he takes that side of his life, as well.

"It's been great to see. You know, I think previously in his career, he didn't take the camaraderie or the being one of the guys as seriously as he does now as he transitions to this latter part of his career where he's captaining teams and he's being part of Presidents Cups, Ryder Cups, and almost like mentoring some of these guys through the fact that he's taken Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler and these guys under his wing a little bit and spends time with them in Florida.

"He's definitely mellowed as a person, and probably sees the bigger picture a little more than he used to, and that's a great thing."

Related: WGC-HSBC Champions betting tips

For all the latest golf news, check the Golf Monthly website and follow our social media channels @golfmonthlymagazine on Facebook and @golfmonthly on Twitter and Instagram

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV