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McIlroy targeting major assault in 2013

By Chris Murphy, CNN
November 26, 2012 -- Updated 2305 GMT (0705 HKT)
Rory McIlroy capped a sensational year with victory at the Dubai World Championship on Sunday. The Northern Irishman won five tournaments in 2012, including his second major, topped the money list on both the PGA and European Tours and ended the season as the world's No. 1 player.
Rory McIlroy capped a sensational year with victory at the Dubai World Championship on Sunday. The Northern Irishman won five tournaments in 2012, including his second major, topped the money list on both the PGA and European Tours and ended the season as the world's No. 1 player.
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Icing on the cake
Streets ahead
Major success
The real deal
Cooking on gas
Taming Tiger
Miracle of Medinah
Lucky charm
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rory McIlroy tells CNN he's gunning for all four major tournaments in 2013 golf season
  • The 23-year-old had a stellar 2012 winning five tournaments, including his second major
  • McIlroy says a greater understanding of his own game has elevated his performances
  • Northern Irishman signed off in 2012 with victory at the Race to Dubai on European Tour

(CNN) -- Rory McIlroy is to trim his schedule to focus on 2013's four major trophies after a fairytale year in which he won five tournaments and both the U.S. PGA and European Tour money lists to finish on top of the world rankings.

The 23-year-old says a greater understanding of his own game has propelled him to new heights as he gave notice to the game's great and good that he could dominate the sport for years to come.

McIlroy's five-star 2012 included his second major at the PGA Championship, and he finished the season in perfect fashion by claiming the Dubai World Championship crown on Sunday.

After topping the world rankings for the first time in his career in March, McIlroy's form has seen him firmly entrenched as the game's best player, and he told CNN that is in part down to greater self assurance.

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"I know myself more, way better as a golfer, and what works for me," he told Living Golf anchor Shane O'Donoghue.

"Some things that I tried to incorporate into my game didn't work for me and I think you've just got to find your way a little bit.

"I guess over the last couple of years I've done that and winning big tournaments and winning majors, you grow in confidence and it gives you belief, belief that you are doing the right things."

McIlroy's performances on both sides of the pond ensured he emulated world No. 2 Luke Donald, who last year became the first man ever to top both the PGA Tour and European Tour money lists.

And despite winning the Honda Classic, the BMW Championship, the Deutsche Bank and Dubai titles it is the major tournaments that remain McIlroy's main target.

To give himself the best possible chance to launch his charge at the quadruple in 2013, he's taking his lead from one of the game's all time greats -- his rival and friend, 14-time major winner Tiger Woods.

"I'm gonna cut my schedule back a little bit next year and try and peak four times a year for the big tournaments," he explained.

"I think it's something that Tiger has done so well over the years and probably why he's been so successful.

"So I'm going to try and take a little bit of a leaf out of his book and cut down on the schedule and make sure I'm fresh for every tournament I play.

"I'm really looking forward to 2013 already, even though this year has just ended. I'm looking forward to preparing and getting my game in shape for next year."

McIlroy ended his final round in Dubai with five straight birdies to hold off the challenge of European Ryder Cup teammate Justin Rose, who led by two shots at one stage during a course record score of 62.

Winning majors with Nicklaus, McIlroy
Peter Hanson, center, and Francesco Molinari of Europe celebrate their team winning the 39th Ryder Cup on Sunday, September 30, in Medinah, Illinois. Europe produced the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history to defeat the United States and retain the trophy. See more of the best of CNN's photography. Peter Hanson, center, and Francesco Molinari of Europe celebrate their team winning the 39th Ryder Cup on Sunday, September 30, in Medinah, Illinois. Europe produced the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history to defeat the United States and retain the trophy. See more of the best of CNN's photography.
Best of Ryder Cup
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Photos: Best of Ryder Cup Photos: Best of Ryder Cup
German Martin Kaymer milks the moment as his putt on the 18th green ensures Europe will retain the Ryder Cup. His defeat of Steve Stricker capped an improbable comeback, as the Europeans triumphed 14½-13½ despite trailing 10-4 at one stage on Saturday.
German Martin Kaymer milks the moment as his putt on the 18th green ensures Europe will retain the Ryder Cup. His defeat of Steve Stricker capped an improbable comeback, as the Europeans triumphed 14½-13½ despite trailing 10-4 at one stage on Saturday.
Mission Improbable
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The greatest sporting comebacks The greatest sporting comebacks

But, watched by his girlfriend and tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, McIlroy wasn't to be denied a fairytale ending to his season.

"I sort of wrapped up the U.S. money list earlier on in the season and I guess my one big goal after that was to win the Race to Dubai and and win the European money list," he said.

"I finished second in China, third in Singapore and then got the win here. It was a big goal of mine. I wanted to win the Race to Dubai since the start of the year.

"The money list in America wasn't so much a priority, but it was nice to get that too. It's been a great way to finish the year."

McIlroy and Woods have grown close over the course of the year, sitting down together for a special interview on CNN's Living Golf show.

The 23-year-old, who won his first major at the 2011 U.S. Open, also sat down for a chat with Jack Nicklaus, who is the game's greatest player with a haul of 18 majors.

"I guess it's a little surreal for me," McIlroy said. "I never thought I'd be able to do it, sitting down with Jack and Tiger on Living Golf this year and doing interviews with them both.

"It's been pretty cool and getting to know both of them, trying to get as much advice off Jack as I can and a little bit off Tiger too.

"I've got a great relationship with both of those guys and hopefully that can continue."

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