Newly engaged Rory McIlroy believes that having eye surgery will give him more focus — literally — as he seeks to put a majorless 2015 and the loss of his world No 1 ranking behind him.
Speaking to BBC NI at a charity gala in Belfast, the world No 3 confirmed he was engaged to American Erica Stoll and that laser eye surgery has “opened up a whole new world” for him.
The 26-year-old, who usually plays in contact lenses, is back home enjoying some time off before his 2016 season begins with a showdown with world No 1 Jordan Spieth in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on January 21.
McIlroy will be bidding for a fifth major and a career grand slam at the Masters in April and having failed to produced his best golf on the greens at Augusta National so far, laser eye surgery may help him as it has helped players like Padraig Harrington and Retief Goosen in the past.
“It was successful,” McIlroy said of the operation he underwent in Dublin on Wednesday. "I woke up and it was like a whole new world, it’s incredible.
"I've struggled with my eyesight now for 10 to 15 years. I’ve had contact lenses and glasses and now I don't have to worry about any of that.
"I think it should hopefully improve me on the golf course and make everything a little bit sharper, that's another positive to take into next year."
McIlroy was out of action for five weeks this year and missed the British Open at St Andrews after rupturing ankle ligaments playing soccer with friends.
Asked how he would spend Christmas, he said he would catch up with friends but "probably won't play as much football".
According to Reuters, former world No 1 Tiger Woods underwent laser eye surgery in 1999 and 2007, winning his first tournament back on both occasions.
Harrington said nearly three years ago that he had had four eyes surgeries while his caddie, Ronan Flood, had also had an operation.
McIlroy, who won four times and claimed the Race to Dubai for the third time in four years, added: "Everything in my life is going great. I'm happy with how the season ended - and how the year has ended."
He was speaking at the The Paddy Wallace Fund for Autism Christmas Ball in Titanic Belfast on Thursday night, where he was challenged to chip a ball into a washing machine just as he did on the Gerry Kelly show in 1999.