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McIlroy 'seen more lawyers this year than I care to see my entire life'

ESPN staff
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McIlroy has been involved in a bitter legal dispute with his former management company © Getty Images
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Rory McIlroy has admitted that a series of off-course distractions have derailed his season, and stressed that he believes he will be stronger for the experience.

McIlroy is in Dubai this week, a year on from winning the Race To Dubai and being crowned European No. 1 thanks to five birdies in five holes, pipping Justin Rose by one shot at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

But the 2013 season has been a different story entirely for McIlroy, who has struggled for form, lies 46th in the Race To Dubai standings and has no chance of retaining the No. 1 crown regardless of his result in the season-ending finale this week.

There has also been continual conjecture around his relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, as well as a change to Nike clubs and an ongoing legal battle with his former management company.

"It's been an interesting year," said McIlroy. "There's definitely been a few things that have impacted [on my performance on the course]. I've had a few different things to think about and different things that occupy your head that really shouldn't.

"It's something that will be sorted out hopefully sooner rather than later. That's the way it is and comes with the territory I guess.

"I've got people to handle that sort of stuff for me and I only see a fraction of it, the stuff that I really want to see. But again it's something that shouldn't be in my mind. It's something that I don't really think any athlete or anyone should ever go through.

"I've seen more lawyers this year than I care to see in my entire life. It's not something I ever want to go through again and I'm making sure that I won't ever go through it again."

McIlroy was in danger of missing this week's DP World Tour Championship before rallying for a sixth-placed finish at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai last month.

"I guess I learnt last year how to deal with the hype and this year I've learned to deal with criticism," he added. "Every year for me is still a new experience.

"I feel I've always thrived on adversity. I think back to the times when I had the collapse at the Masters and I came back and won the US Open because I wanted to prove to myself and other people that wasn't who I am and that's not the way I play under pressure.

"Last year at the US PGA was the same sort of thing. I went through a little lull of three or four months and people started to question things and I like proving people wrong. It's something that I have to keep doing every year and hopefully I do that again this year as well.

"I feel like this course really suits my game. I know it would be a great way to cap off the European season with a win."

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