McIlroy plans American tour

Rory McIlroy will go round the world in 120 days before touching down at the Irish Open.

The Holywood star will play at least 10 events in the Middle East and the US before he tees it up in Europe for the first time at Baltray.

And the world No 39 confessed that the thought of making his Masters debut in April has kept him going over the winter break.

He said: "It was great to sit down over Christmas knowing that I am in the Masters. It is a great way to start the year.

“I'm practising harder than I ever have and I can't wait to get back into action next week."

McIlroy will debut in the Abu Championship and then play the Qatar Masters and the Dubai Desert Classic before concentrating on the build up to the Masters on the PGA Tour.

He said: “I’ll play the Accenture Matchplay in Arizona, the Honda Classic and the CA Championship in Doral, come home a few weeks and then play Shell Houston, the Masters and the Verizon Heritge.

"Hopefully I will be in the Players at Sawgrass as well and then I can come home for the Irish Open, which will be my first event in Europe.

"It's a big change from the middle of last summer, when I was 90th in the Order of Merit and wondering what way the season was going to go.

"The end of the year went fantastic for me and while I haven't won yet, I'm not worried. It's all about getting into position on the back nine on Sunday and the more I do that the more I will learn from that situation."