Rory McIlroy has every intention of being the top-ranked player in the world for a long time.
McIlroy, who enjoys a sizable edge over Bubba Watson, the No. 2 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, makes his 2015 U.S. debut on Thursday in The Honda Classic, played in his adopted American hometown. Entering his 31st consecutive week at No. 1 in the world, McIlroy is precisely where he wants to be in his career.
“It's what I've always wanted to do," he said. "I would be wasting my time if I was out there practicing as much as I do, and putting as much into it, if I didn't want to be in this position. And wasting the people's time around me, as well, that helped me get to this point.
“Of course I want to be that guy. I said it last year. Golf is waiting for someone like that to step forward, put their hand up and win the big tournaments. Yeah, this is the position I want to be in, and I want to be in it as long as I can.”
The Ulsterman, who won two seasons last year, is riding a hot streak, having finished no worse than second in his last eight European Tour starts dating back to 2014. He's already won this year at the Dubai Desert Classic and finished second to start his year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Though he hasn't played in three weeks, he's not concerned about a layoff.
“People talk about momentum and talk about sort of riding it, but I think momentum and confidence are two very similar things in golf," he said Wednesday. "If you’re confident and you’ve had good performances, that confidence seems to carry on; and if you’re happy with how practice goes, then you’re obviously going to be confident going into tournaments."
Not only is McIlroy by far the best player on the planet right now, but he has a great track record at PGA National. McIlroy was a winner on the Champion course in 2012 and a playoff runner-up last year.
However, he had an embarrassing incident in this event in 2013, pulling out after eight holes in the second round with a phantom dental problem. McIlroy has come so far since then, and he views that time as part of a learning curve he's long past.
“I’m in a great position and I feel like I handle the position I’m in a lot better than I did a couple of years ago,” said McIlroy. “I’ve got more experience at it. I’ve spent well over a year of my career at world No. 1, so I’m pretty used to it by now."
Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.