Rory McIlroy is embarking on his first full season on the European Tour but insists he will be in contention to win a major championship within 10 years.
The 18-year-old from the North is currently on the verge of breaking into the world’s top 200 following his joint 11th at last week’s Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.
The former European amateur champion’s impressive start to his career has even seen his name mentioned as an outside candidate for a Ryder Cup berth later this year at Valhalla.
“The Ryder Cup is not my ultimate goal,” McIlroy said.
“I want to be a major contender in five or 10 years and try and win majors and if I can do that I will achieve my main goal. If you are doing that you are going to make Ryder Cup teams.
“I try to take it all in my stride, it’s always nice to be mentioned. I don’t really feel that under pressure, I know that I can play golf and I go out and play and I don’t have to worry about anything else.
“All I want to do is be happy with where I am at with my game and let everything else take care of itself.”
McIlroy rose to fame after shooting the only bogey free round on the first day of the 2007 Open at Carnoustie, a 68 leaving the then amateur tied for third and three shots off the early pace.
After comfortably making the cut, McIlroy finished in a tie for 42nd at five under to win the silver medal for leading amateur.
Later that year he made a spectacular start to his professional career after finishing third at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in October.
He finished 95th on the 2007 Order of Merit after securing his card for 2008 with a share of fourth place at the Madrid Open.
While McIlroy has high aims for later in his career, he is cautious about pushing himself too far as he looks to establish himself.
“This year I want to get into the world’s top 100 and get into the USPGA championship and I think at this stage that is a good goal for me,” he added.
“It would be also nice to get into the Volvo Masters at the end of the year; they are achievable goals I think.”
After narrowly missing out on a top-10 finish at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club with a closing 68, McIlroy is turning his attentions to this week’s Qatar Masters on a course which is “right up my street.”
“I am very confident ahead of Qatar,” he added. “I feel like I am hitting it really good. If I can play the way I played in Abu Dhabi and hole a few more putts I will be right up there.
“I did a lot of practice over new year. I went to Dubai and just hit balls for a week. I just feel like I’m nearly there. I am there ball-striking wise, if I can just put it all together I will be doing good.”