McIlroy: "I'd hate to think I’ll end this year without a win"

McIlroy: "I'd hate to think I’ll end this year without a win"
No looking back. Rory McIlroy wants to win before the end of 2017

No looking back. Rory McIlroy wants to win before the end of 2017

Rory McIlroy insists he'd "hate" to finish the season without a win.

Seeking the first successful title defence of his career in the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston, the world No 4 wants to try and defend his FedEx Cup crown and he knows he will need a win in one of his next two events to have a strong chance of pulling that off in the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Providing he qualifies for the FedEx Cup finale, McIlroy has just four events left this season to avoid just his second full winless season since turning professional.

“I’d hate to think I’ll end this year without a win,” said McIlroy, who suffered a rib and back problem in January and cannot practice or train as he might like.

“I’ve got four tournaments left until I can hopefully make that happen: Here, Chicago, Atlanta and then one back over in Europe [Alfred Dunhill Links].

“I would be nice to get a win before I shut it down for a while. I feel like I'm capable. It's not as if I'm out there and I'm hurting myself or making it any worse. I feel like I can still go out there and compete. So if you can do that, why not give it a go. I guess that’s my thinking.”

Winless in the majors for the last three years,  McIlroy said after finishing 22nd in the US PGA that he was contemplating taking the rest of the year off to recover from his rib injury.

”I don’t know what I’m going to do,” McIlroy, who has played just 14 events this season, said after a closing 68 at Quail Hollow. ”You might not see me until next year. You might see me in a couple of weeks’ time.”

After seeking the advice of sports scientist Steve McGregor in Northern Ireland, McIlroy was told he could not make the injury any worse and finished 34th in last week’s Northern Trust Open.

He won the tournament in 2012, when it was called the Deutsche Bank Championship, and won it again last year before capturing the Tour Championship after a playoff to win the $10m FedEx Cup bonus.

“I think that sets up well for my game,” he said. “It’s more of a ball striker’s golf course than anything else, and I think that's what I've done so well, the two times that I've won here."

McIlroy admitted that last year’s FedEx Cup success rescued an average season.

“I see it as a similar situation,” he said. "I feel like I'm still very capable of winning, you know, one or two of these next three events and giving myself a chance to win the FedExCup.

"I don't feel like I'm limited at all on the golf course. I'm a little sore. I'm a little stiff when I wake up in the mornings when I've played and practice a little bit. But it doesn't hinder me while I'm out there. I feel like it’s a very similar position to where I was last year.”

World No 1 Dustin Johnson has won four times this year, beating Open champion Jordan Spieth in a play-off on Sunday to capture The Northern Trust.

Johnson’s three other victories came in successive events before he suffered a back injury which forced him to withdraw from the Masters.

And the former US Open champion has refused to rule out another winning streak in the FedEx Cup play-offs.

“You can’t win them all if you don’t win the first one, right?” Johnson said at TPC Boston. “It’s definitely possible. Is it going to happen? I have no idea.

“I would love to say yeah I’m going to win all four but the odds are not in my favour. Winning last week is big because I think I am probably guaranteed to be in the top five going into Atlanta, which is where you want to be because then if you win the tournament you win the FedEx Cup.

“That’s the biggest thing for me. This week is another big week because I want to play really well, I finally feel like I am swinging really well.”