European Tour

Koepka targets world No 1 spot in Abu Dhabi

Brooks Koepka (AP)
Brooks Koepka (AP)

Abu Dhabi - Brooks Koepka admitted he is gunning for the world number one ranking as he prepares to take part in the $7 million Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week.

The American, who is ranked second in the world after winning the US Open and the PGA Championship last year, lost top spot to his closest rival Justin Rose when he failed to finish inside the top-eight in the Tournament of Champions earlier this month.

"I'm thinking about it. It's always nice to be the best in the world at something," said the 28-year-old Koepka.

It has been a close battle between Koepka and Englishman Rose, who is top of the rankings heading into this week's tournament and Koepka just behind.

Since September 10 the No. 1 spot has changed hands eight times, with Rose holding the top position four times for a combined six weeks and Koepka for nine weeks in three different stints. World No 3 Dustin Johnson was the top-ranking player for four weeks in between.

"You try to play your best and be on top, but there's no extra added pressure or anything like that," added Koepka.

"If I do what I'm supposed to do, I'll be just fine and get back up on the top."

Koepka missed the early part of last year recovering from a wrist injury, and says he only achieved half of last year's objectives despite adding the two majors to his 2017 US Open title.

"I always set goals every year. I think that's a big part of it and obviously this year, No1 was pretty clear... to stay healthy," said Koepka.

"I wrote a bunch of different goals down. I think I did about half of them last year. I will just try to improve on that and make sure I can knock a few more off that list.

"I wanted to make sure I made all the cuts. I missed one cut. I didn't finish inside the top-10 half the time. Wasn't healthy, and that's a big one. And then, obviously win a major and win multiple times on the Tour, I knocked those off."

Koepka returns to Abu Dhabi after a gap of five years. He missed the cut in his only previous appearance here.

Also in the field this week are Johnson, and two-time defending champion Tommy Fleetwood of England.

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