Cape Town - World number five Rory McIlroy has not had the best season by his lofty standards, but still has a few events to improve before a well-earned break.
The Northern Irishman broke a near 18 month winless streak when he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, which remains his only silverware for the season. But McIlroy has been close, notching up three runners-up finishes.
"I'm in a much better place this year than I was this time last year in terms of injury, and I've played very consistent golf," the 29-year-old told a pre-tournament press conference in Shanghai.
"Maybe haven't quite had the wins I've wanted but I have three tournaments this year to try to add to that, so I'm excited for this week and the next few weeks as well.”
McIlroy arrives in Shanghai for the WGC - HSBC Champions off the back of some decent form, where he has earned four top seven finishes in his last six starts.
In terms of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, McIlroy admits he is under the cosh. The four-time major winner is currently fourth in the standings, behind leader Francesco Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood and American Patrick Reed.
With the three-event Rolex Series to follow the WGC, a couple good finishes could see McIlroy arrive at the finale in Dubai at the DP World Tour Championship with a shot at the European number one.
"I feel like I need one win, maybe two, out of the next three to have any sort of a chance,” he continued.
“I need to play some very, very good golf over these next few weeks to at least have a chance. If I can go to Dubai with a mathematical chance of winning, you know, you never know what can happen. I'm still open to it, but I know it's a long shot."
The WGC- HSBC Champions tees off at the Sheshan International on Thursday.