It takes a lot to be the best in the world at anything. Genetics, practice, innate talent and taking the right opportunities at the right time all go in to making someone 'world class'. But even if you have all that, psychology plays an integral part in turning a talented individual into a champion. A large number of top athletes have taken an active interest in the psychology of success and Rory McIlroy is no different.
Speaking ahead of the year opening Abu Dhabi Championship, McIlroy disclosed one of the tricks that help focus his mind and motivate him throughout the year.
Every year I fly to Dubai to do a week or 10 days of prep before the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship, which is my first tournament of the year.
I write my goals down on the back of my boarding pass, memorise them, put it in my wallet and don’t look at them again until the end of the year. So in the wallet in my back pocket right now is a boarding pass with my goals for the year.
I don’t really want to share them with anyone else. They are just my little goals and I’ll take out that boarding pass at year’s end and see how well I’ve done.
Somewhat surprisingly, the world no.1 disclosed that last year's list was not completed, despite the fact that he had one of the best years of any golfer in a quite some time.
I actually didn’t achieve everything that I wanted to. I wanted to have six worldwide wins and I only had four but still, it was a good year.
However, it must be said that two of the those were majors and McIlroy was only aiming for one, so he probably shouldn't be too disappointed.
Speaking to the European Tour after the press conference, he once again addressed the boarding pass ritual: