McIlroy has Masters on his mind
World number one Rory McIlroy admits he is annoyed to still be spending time on legal battles rather than the golf course, but insists it will have no impact on his bid to complete the career grand slam.
Ahead of last year's DP World Tour Championship, McIlroy said he had seen "more lawyers this year than I care to see in my entire life" due to his legal dispute with a former management company.
But 12 months on, the 25-year-old arrived in Dubai having missed the first two events of the Final Series to prepare for a scheduled February court date in that exact same dispute with Horizon Sports.
"Of course I'm annoyed that it's still going on, but it is what it is," said McIlroy, who secured a second Race to Dubai title in three years on Sunday when none of his nearest rivals - Jamie Donaldson, Sergio Garcia and Marcel Siem - were able to win the Turkish Airlines Open.
"I've been saying that a lot recently. I can't do anything about it. We tried our best a few weeks ago to come to some sort of resolution and it didn't work.
"It's not the best thing to be going through, but at the end of the day it will be over and done with a good bit before I have to go down Magnolia Lane in April and that's fine by me. As long as I've got a clear head going there, I'm happy with that. I'm not missing anything that I would normally play anyway."
Asked why he was so confident his preparation for the Masters would not be affected by off-course events, McIlroy joked: "I've got used to it. That's what it is. I'm better at compartmentalising between stuff that's happening off the course and then being able to focus on what's going on on the course.
"It's just something that it's been a part of my life for the last couple years, so that's how and that's why I handle it better now. All that stuff, it's experience, and it gets ingrained in there. I always try and learn from experiences, from mistakes and from success. Life in general is a big learning curve. I just try and learn from everything and move on. I feel I've learnt a lot in that regard this year.
" I feel like I have a clear path going forward. I feel much more comfortable sitting here this year than I did in 2012 because there was a lot of things up in the air at that point in 2012, changing equipment and there was a lot of stuff going on in my life, but there's much more stability now and I know exactly what I need to do."
McIlroy also said he is not concerned about personal or financial details being made public in court, adding: " It's not like I'm worried in any way, because I definitely don't feel like I've done anything wrong. But it's not ideal of course."
The four-time major winner revealed his preparation for the court case lasted until two days before the start of the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, but saw no point in making a last-minute dash to China.
The Open and US PGA champion spent the last 10 days in Dubai and was fittingly on the practice range when he discovered he had won the Race to Dubai with an event to spare, an outcome which has prompted debate over the format of the Final Series.
Extra points are on offer in the four events, but that does not play as significant a role as the re-setting of points which takes place in the comparable FedEx Cup play-offs on the PGA Tour.
" It works just fine for me," McIlroy joked. "I'm happy to spoil the party. Whenever one of the three guys last week didn't win, I'm reading things like 'Rory's just won the Race to Dubai sitting on the couch this weekend.' You've got to remember the first 10 months of the season where I actually did play and I played very well.
"Whether they look at it again, that's completely up to the European Tour. Whether they want to go more FedEx Cup style or whether they want to keep it like this. Either way works for me."
Sixty miles away in Abu Dhabi the Formula One season comes to an end this weekend with double points on offer for the final race, a contrivance which means Nico Rosberg could deny Lewis Hamilton the title despite winning far fewer races.
"I don't think their whole season should be decided on one race with the double points," McIlroy said. " It makes it exciting for the fans but I'm sure Lewis doesn't think it's that exciting right now.
"Hopefully for him it all works out and he does come out on top because he's definitely the deserving champion of this year."