ANTALYA (Turkey) • World No. 3 Rory McIlroy is confident that he has left his injury problems behind and is keen to close out the season in style by winning a third Race to Dubai title.
The four-time Major winner's participation in the Turkish Airlines Open was thrown into doubt after he ruptured ankle ligaments in July while playing football with his friends.
The injury cost him his No. 1 world ranking and a chance to defend his British Open title at St Andrews but the Northern Irishman now says he is fit enough to get back into the hunt for titles.
He made his comeback with a 17th-placed finish at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in mid-August. He played in three FedExCup play-off events before starting the new PGA Tour season with a tie for 26th in the Frys.com Open in California.
"Health-wise, I'm pretty much back to where I need to be. I've started to train the way I did before the injury again," he told a news conference yesterday.
"So trying to get my game back into the shape that I know that I can and feel like I've made a few steps in the right direction."
The Turkish Airlines Open kicks off the Final Series, a lucrative four-tournament series that brings the curtain down on the European season, with the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai next month being the last.
McIlroy enjoys a 271,214-point lead over Englishman Danny Willett in the Race to Dubai. But with the winner of each event getting 1,333,330 points, there is still plenty to play for.
"I want to try and get back into contention and no better place than (here)," said McIlroy of the par-72 Montgomerie Maxx Royal course. "I'd like to win the Race to Dubai. I'd like to win at least one of last three events that I'm playing.
"If I was to go from then to the end of the season without another win, it would be very disappointing.
"It's sort of been two steps forward and one step back a little bit since I've come back from injury, and I would just like to keep moving forward these next four weeks and try to finish the season on a positive note."