Dubai: Rory McIlroy will appear in a Dublin court next week to resolve a multi-million dollar legal battle with his former agents, yet the world number one insists he is focused on golf as he returns to competitive action at the Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday.
The Northern Irishman terminated his contract with Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management in September 2013 to form his own management company, prompting a protracted legal dispute that will be heard in a Dublin court next week.
McIlroy withdrew from two European Tour events late last year, but insists the court clash has not upset his Dubai preparations as he attempts to end a five-month title drought on the European Tour.
“After this tournament`s over, I`ll have to do my homework a little bit but I`m fully focused on this event,” McIlroy told a news conference in Dubai.
"It`s not something I would want anyone to go through. It`s a very tedious and nasty process at times.”
Dubai’s Majlis Course holds happy memories for 25-year-old McIlroy – in 2009 he claimed a debut Tour title aged 19, aided by long-time caddie JP Fitzgerald.
“I said to JP today, it`s been six years since that win and hasn`t been a bad six years ... when you get your first win, you feel you move to a different level,” said McIlroy, who has since claimed four majors and requires a U.S. Masters title to complete the career grand slam.
The Northern Irishman has finished second at his last three Tour events, including the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship two weeks ago where sloppy putting in the third round proved decisive.
“I`m very happy with where my game is tee-to-green and put some good work in over the last week on my short game, which needed a little bit of sharpening up,” said McIlroy.
“I could probably get better at my wedge play from 80-130 yards because I leave myself a lot of shots from that distance. Even if it saves me one or two strokes a tournament, it could make a big difference.”
Dubai will be McIlroy’s final European Tour appearance before flying to the United States to begin preparations for April’s U.S. Masters in Augusta.
“It`s important to put in some good performances before, get into contention and feel what it`s like in the heat of the moment, because that`s when you really know how your game is and how it holds up under some pressure,” added McIlroy.