McIlroy back on top and intending to stay there

Rory McIlroy signalled his intention to enjoy a lengthy stay at the top of the world rankings as he declared: “The work has only just started”.

The 30-year-old regained the world No 1 status recently for the first time since September 2015, ending Brooks Koepka’s 38-week reign despite taking the week off, although Koepka and Jon Rahm both have the chance to knock McIlroy off the top with strong performances at the star-studded Genesis Invitational.

McIlroy conceded that staying at the top of the rankings would be tougher than getting there, and he insisted he had no qualms over how he ascended back to the summit having already had the “euphoric moment” of becoming world No 1 for the first time in 2012, when he held off Tiger Woods to win the Honda Classic.

“The work’s only started, it’s staying there that is the hard part,” McIlroy said at his pre-tournament press conference at Riviera Country Club, where nine of the world’s top-10 players are competing in the Tiger Woods-hosted event.

“It’s a calculation based on how you’ve played over the last two years. I’ve played well and I’ve played consistently well, and the mathematics add up that I’m the top of the list right now and obviously I have a chance to stay there this week.

“But I’ve always said it’s a by-product of doing the right things week in, week out, playing well, shooting good scores, trying to win tournaments, and if I can continue to do that, then hopefully that thing just takes care of itself.”

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