Resurgent McIlroy working on not being 'one-dimensional'

Not since September 2016 has Rory McIlroy won a competitive tournament, but he is closing in on ending his drought in Abu Dhabi.

Rory McIlroy in Abu Dhabi   -  Getty Images

Rory McIlroy says he has been working on not being "one-dimensional" as he aims to end a 16-month trophy drought at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The four-time major champion is just one stroke off joint-leaders Ross Fisher and Thomas Pieters after a sublime seven-under 65 in Saturday's third round.

McIlroy has not won any tournament since his victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship in September 2016, while his last major triumph came at the 2014 PGA Championship.

The 28-year-old, who has been sidelined through injury since October, is delighted to be back competing and has been putting in the hard yards in practice, including using the golf simulator Trackman.

"It's so nice," he told reporters when asked about his position heading into the final round. 

"If someone had said to me at the start of the week, you can go off in the last couple of groups and have a chance going into Sunday, I'd have said 'I'd love to do that'. 

"It's just good to get back into the mix and get back into the competitive environment.

"I'm working on not to be so one-dimensional. It's not that I didn't have the ability, but I had gotten out of the habit and I had gotten out of doing that and practising that. But I've been doing stuff like that over the past few months.

"I've been doing them since probably September [Trackman games]. I worked a little bit on my wedges at Close House for the British Masters and that helped that week. I just continued on from there."

McIlroy is a four-time runner-up in Abu Dhabi and hopes to finally go one better on Sunday.

He told Sky Sports: "I've had a lot of close calls here, I think about six top threes or something like that. I've never won my first start back out [after a lay-off].

"It would mean a lot. It's felt like a while since I've won and just to give myself these chances; I gave myself a chance at the end of the year at Close House and wasn't able to do it. Paul Dunne played too well for me.

"I'm excited to get back on the horse and give myself another chance."

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