| 1.5°C Dublin

Golf: Rory McIlroy will look to successfully defend the title which kick-started his resurgence at this week's Australian Open in Sydney.

Golf: Rory McIlroy will look to successfully defend the title which kick-started his resurgence at this week's Australian Open in Sydney.

Given the world number one's brilliant performances this year, which brought major victories in the Open and US PGA Championship and two other wins, it is hard to believe just how bad 2013 was in comparison.

McIlroy struggled to adapt to his new equipment, fell out with his management company and walked off the course during his defence of the Honda Classic, not to mention labelling his own play "brain dead" when missing the cut in the British Open at Muirfield.

The 25-year-old had to wait until December to win his first tournament of 2013 at Royal Sydney, denying home favourite Adam Scott the triple crown after the Masters champion had won the Australian PGA and Australian Masters.

Twelve months on McIlroy returns to Sydney - albeit a different golf course - already thinking about completing a career grand slam in the Masters next April and brimming with confidence.

"This year has been full of ups and downs, mainly ups, which is a great thing," said McIlroy, who won the BMW PGA Championship in May just days after calling off his wedding to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.

"This week's a big week. I want to go down there and play well and do a good job with defending my title.

McIlroy has now spent a total of 56 weeks as world number one during his career and is now in his fifth spell at the top of the rankings.

A new Hamilton deal a formality

motorsport: Lewis Hamilton believes signing a new contract with Mercedes will be "a formality" after clinching his second Formula One world title.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff had previously mentioned that he would sit down with Hamilton and the team's non-executive chairman Niki Lauda to thrash out a deal once the distraction of the title fight was over.

Hamilton can now relax after his victory in Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix made him only the 16th driver in F1 history to win at least two championships.

The new contract will reportedly keeps Hamilton at Mercedes for the next two years - with the option of a third in 2017 - are all but finalised.

Hamilton said: "Someone mentioned it's pretty much a formality. It really is pretty much a formality I would have thought."


Privacy