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Published: 16:32 | 20/1/16

McIlroy: Pressure is on Spieth

Rory McIlroy believes the media focus on world number one Jordan Spieth will take the pressure off him in 2016.

The Northern Irishman returns to action at this week's Abu Dhabi Championship for the first time since winning the World Tour Championship in November in Dubai, but McIlroy says the media attention will be on world number one Spieth as he looks to take his 2015 form into the first major of the season, the Masters at Augusta.

McIlroy feels the media spotlight will be on Spieth, who won two majors, the PGA Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup title in 2015 , going into April's Masters tournament.

"I feel I'm better equipped now, I've got a little bit of experience in how to deal with it and approach it," McIlroy said.

"I know it's going to be there, but there's still, there's a whole bunch of other story lines that are going on with golf right now.

"Jordan is obviously defending and that's so many other guys that have a chance going in there. I think it will be a little different this year, for sure."

McIlroy expects an improvement in his short game after undergoing laser eye surgery during his two-month break from competitive action.

"It's definitely made things just that little bit sharper, maybe within 50 meters or so," world number three McIlroy said.

"I feel like I've always been a decent green reader, but maybe not quite as good as I could be. So that was one of the reasons why I took this step."

Spieth is determined to build on his 2015 season success and cement his place alongside Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson among this generation's great players.

"I think there are two ways of going forward," the 22-year-old said.

"One is you can be satisfied and think about all the stuff you’ve done. Or two, you can look at what these guys who you’ve looked up to your whole life have accomplished more than you have.

"To look at Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson; this is still our generation, Tiger, Phil, Rory, these guys that have done more in the game of golf than I have and I want to strive to get to what they have done. I want my name to go down in history for as many things as it can. That’s where my mind is. I’m less satisfied with what’s happened and more hungry to try and keep it going."

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