The world number two and four-times major champion has won the
tournament twice and feels very much at home at Emirates Golf Club.
"I've liked this routine at the start of the year and I've done it
the last few seasons where I take the week off between Abu Dhabi and
Dubai," McIlroy told the European Tour website on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old Northern Irishman finished in a tie for third place
in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago behind American Rickie Fowler.
"I feel like I played well in Abu Dhabi, there were a couple of
things I needed to work on and I feel like I have addressed those,"
said McIlroy, who owns a house in Dubai and has been relaxing as
well as honing his game.
"I've tried to get a little bit of balance," he said. "I tried to
get my practice in the morning so I can spend the afternoons having
a little bit of free time. It's nice to go out and explore a bit of
McIlroy won in Dubai in 2009, his first victory as a professional,
and lifted the trophy again last year.
"I have been coming here so long and I have great memories," he
said. "I've been able to win a couple of times and I'd love to make
[to top of second column]
McIlroy starts his defense on Thursday in the company of Swede
Henrik Stenson and South African Louis Oosthuizen.
"My lowest score here is 64 and I'd love to better that," he said.
South Africa's Ernie Els, bidding for a fourth Dubai title, partners
Thailandís Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger.
Twice major winner Martin Kaymer tees up with fellow former U.S.
Open champion Graeme McDowell and Dane Soren Kjeldsen.
(Reporting by Ed Osmond in London; Editing by Tom Heneghan)
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