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Spieth expecting tough test from McIlroy

Jordan Spieth hopes to finish 2016 as he started it as the world’s number one golfer but knows that Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy will be out to get him.

The two are all but set to face off at this week’s Abu Dhabi Golf Championship as organisers could draw the two together for the first two rounds in a bid to maximise the tournament’s publicity.

Mc e Spieth

Spieth was golf’s biggest earner in 2015, earning more than $53million – with more than $30m of that coming off the course according to Golf Digest – taking out five PGA Tour events last year and kicking off 2016 with victory in the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii barely 10 days ago.

Spieth won the tournament by eight strokes, and, as the 22-year-old Texan continues to draw comparisons to Tiger Woods, he insists he is more concerned by the challenge of McIlroy.

McIlroy, ranked number three in the world, only played 12 tour events compared to Spieth’s 25, and has undergone laser eye surgery during the off-season, but Spieth was full of praise for how the Northern Irishman finished the season.

“In a season that he considered lost, he still came back and ended up winning the Race To Dubai and that proves what a player he is,” Spieth said.

“I’m sure there are very few players who have been working harder than he is to make this season his best season yet – and that is scary. Hopefully I can prevent that to an extent.”

And Spieth has planned a busy year to help him achieve that.

“I would like to contend in a couple of majors on Sunday and I’d like to win at least one of them,” Spieth said.

“I’d also like to represent the United States in not only the Olympics but also the Ryder Cup. It would be great to get a couple of wins, not only for myself but for my country.”

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