Rory wants to get closer to the World No.1 spot this year in a hope to regain in it 2020

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Rory McIlroy Focused On Closing Gap To World No.1 Koepka

Brooks Koepka might not think that he and Rory McIlroy are rivals, but the Northern Irishman is aiming to close the gap on his American counterpart in the world rankings.

Koepka is currently top of the Official World Golf Ranking with McIlroy just behind.

Rory can’t surpass Koepka this year due to the American’s huge lead but McIlroy is hoping to get as close as possible in 2019 to regain the top spot next year.

“I want to get as many World Ranking points as I possibly can and try to close that gap on No. 1. So you know, pretty motivated coming into the week,” McIlroy said in China ahead of this week’s WGC-HSBC Champions.

“I feel like this year’s went very well. I played very consistently.

“I think last week in Japan was my 17th Top-10 of the year, so I’ve played consistent golf and I’ve won a few times, as well. It was great to get the win at the Tour Championship and win the FedExCup.

“I started this year maybe like 8th or 9th in the world, so to see that progress and to play so well and get myself back up to No. 2 with a chance of closing that gap, and I don’t think I’ll be able to quite close it as — get there by the end of this year.

“But if I play well the next few weeks, you know, I’ll have a great platform going into next year.”

Related: McIlroy responds to Koepka’s rivalry comments

The four-time Major winner comes into this week’s WGC after a third-place finish at the Zozo Championship, where Tiger Woods won his 82nd PGA Tour title.

McIlroy has become close friends with Woods in recent years and says that he has mellowed as a person since his earlier days.

“I think I’m in a fortunate position that I live quite close to him and we’ve been able to develop quite a good relationship, and I’ve seen in the private moments who he is in a person and what a great dad he is, and you know, how seriously he takes that side of his life, as well.

“It’s been great to see. You know, I think previously in his career, he didn’t take the camaraderie or the being one of the guys as seriously as he does now as he transitions to this latter part of his career where he’s captaining teams and he’s being part of Presidents Cups, Ryder Cups, and almost like mentoring some of these guys through the fact that he’s taken Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler and these guys under his wing a little bit and spends time with them in Florida.

“He’s definitely mellowed as a person, and probably sees the bigger picture a little more than he used to, and that’s a great thing.”

Related: WGC-HSBC Champions betting tips

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