Rory McIlroy: rankings looks after themselves. Hassan Ammar/AP/Press Association Images

Within touching distance: Rory McIlroy shrugs off world No 1 talk

The Holywood man could become the world’s top golfer with a win in Arizona this weekend.

TOP OF THE world, Ma… almost.

Rory McIlroy knows that come the end of the weekend he could well be the number one golfer on the planet.

The 22-year-old goes into the Accenture Match Play in Tuscon with the knowledge that a victory in the 64-man tournament, coupled with an early exit for Luke Donald, would send him to the top of the rankings.

The US Open champion has been paired with South African George Coetzee in the first round while current No 1, Donald, faces a real test against Ernie Els.

“The rankings are sort of a by-product of what you do,” McIlroy said today. “I’d rather just concentrate on trying to win tournaments and trying to improve as a player.

“If I happen to do that, then hopefully the ranking will take care of itself.”

Donald, for his part, fancies his chances of retaining the title he won at the Ritz Carlton GC last year. The win kicked off a memorable year for the Englishman.

“This is really where it all started for me for last year,” Donald told the press in Arizona yesterday. “My last win in America before coming here and winning was in 2006 at the Honda Classic.  So it had been a while since I’d won on the PGA Tour.  To come here and play against the best players in the world and to win in the fashion I did, gave me a huge amount of confidence.

“It’s certainly my best year by far, all starting here as winning this tournament really gave me a huge amount of confidence – not just in winning, but the way I wanted.  I never went to the 18th.  Usually in match play you have to dig out a few matches.

“It just seemed that year, that week, everything went smoothly.  I was able to control every match, never get behind.  I think because of that, it led up to a lot of the successes I had after the win.”

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