McIlroy's eastern promise

Rory McIlroy is tooled up and tuned up to make a winning breakthrough in Malaysia this week.

The Holywood teenager has spent the past month recharging his batteries, working in the gym and putting new equipment in his bag as he searches for that elusive maiden win in the Maybank Malaysian Open.

But that's where the goals begin and end for McIlroy, 18, who says he has no idea what he has to do to qualify for the Masters at Augusta next month.

McIlroy said: "I honestly don't know what it would take to get into the Masters at this point. But if I win this week I am sure there will be a lot of world ranking points because there are good players here.

"But I just want to go out and do my best and if I can win, fine. If it doesn't work this week I will just go on to Korea next week and do the same again because I feel I am really close."

Set to tee it up alongside Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, Graeme McDowell, Peter Lawrie and Gary Murphy in the Maybank Malaysian Open, McIlroy will play four tournaments in the next five weeks.

After missing the cut on his last appearance in the Dubai Desert Classic, he spent a fortnight of his four-week break on a Caribbean cruise with his girlfriend Holly and her family,

But he also spent a lot of time working out in the ship-board gym and making changes to his equipment.

The former amateur No 1 has put his old driver back in the bag, added a new set of Titleist irons and opted for a more upright putter that he hopes will give him a better roll on the greens.

But he's not beating himself up over his first missed cut of the season in Dubai, where a final hole bogey saw him miss out by just one shot.

He said: "I wasn't playing well that week. But when you are not on your game and you only miss the cut by one, it is not as if you are doing anything that badly.

"I just have to dust myself off and get going again. I am really looking forward to this week and I am feeling good about my game."

McIlroy stopped off in Dubai to practice on his way to Kuala Lumpur where he hopes to fulfil his eastern promise by challenging for the title and a top prize of €219,483.

And while he's ranked 206th in the world, 100th on the Order of Merit, goals such as qualifying for the majors, World Golf Championships or ever the Ryder Cup are all on the back burner.

He added: "It was great to have some time off and we had a great time on the cruise. But all I want to do now is win a tournament.

"I'm feeling fitter and stronger and my game is good. I just have to keep doing what I'm doing and see what happens."

McIlroy will be joined at next week's Ballantine's Championship in Korea by Padraig Harrington.

The Dubliner remained at No 10 in the world rankings after the first week of a two week break but was relegated from seventh to eighth in the Ryder Cup World Points List as Luke Donald finished second to Ernie Els in the Honda Classic.

The South African's one-stroke win was his first on the PGA Tour since the 2004 American Express Championship at Mount Juliet in Co Kilkenny.

Meanwhile, Darren Clarke will get a chance to win his fourth English Open title at St Mellion next year.

The event will be on the 2009 schedule, seven years after Clarke lifted the title for the third time at the Forest of Arden.