WORLD number one Rory McIlroy may not be playing his best golf at the moment but he remains confident he can defend his Honda Classic title at Palm Beach Gardens this week.
The two-time major winner is looking to become the first player to win the event in consecutive years since the great Jack Nicklaus managed the feat in 1977 and ‘78 and thinks the conditions will be set fair to help him on his way.
“Hopefully I’m the first one since Jack to do it this week,” he said.
“This week always depends on the conditions, it can get quite windy here and the course can play firm and it can get tricky but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be that way this week.”
McIlroy also revealed he is still adjusting to his new Nike equipment but believes his game is suffering due to his swing.
The Northern Irishman penned a multi-year deal with Nike last month, widely reported to be a 10-year contract worth as much as £150million, but missed the cut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship by four shots.
However, he insists it is more of a technique issue rather than struggling to adapt to his new clubs.
“It’s still an adjustment period,” he said.
“It is more about how I’m swinging the club. That’s the real concern. It’s a little bit mental, but it was more physical.”
McIlroy, 23, feels he is now more comfortable with his equipment but admits he will build confidence with each tournament.
“The ball was the easiest thing,” he said of his new kit. “The biggest thing was finding a driver that suited me and I feel like I’ve got one now that really works.
“I just need tournament rounds to get that confidence in it.
“I knew there were going to be comments made if it didn’t happen for me right away.
“I’m only two tournaments into the season, I’ve got 20 to go so it’s not like I’m in any rush or pushing for answers, looking for answers, everything is there it’s just a matter of putting it all together.”
If McIlroy is to defend his title in Florida he will have to overcome a strong field which includes the likes of Tiger Woods, Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and Retief Goosen.