DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Embroiled in court cases on both sides of the Atlantic, Rory McIlroy has been visiting lawyers' offices instead of winning golf titles this year.
The Northern Irishman remains without a victory in 2013 as he returns to Dubai this week to defend his last victory, the World Tour Championship. He's slipped from No. 1 in the rankings to No. 6.
In the 12 months since, he has become tied up in legal wrangling with his former management company, Horizon Sports Management, and his former sponsor, Oakley.
''I've seen more lawyers' offices and more lawyers this year than I care to see in my entire life,'' McIlroy said Tuesday. ''It's not something I ever want to go through again, and I'm making sure that I won't go through it again.
''As a golfer, you want your mind as clear as possible, and it's hard for that to happen when you've got other things that are going on that, firstly, you don't want to happen, and secondly, you don't feel should be happening. It has been a distraction.''
McIlroy said he was taking some advice from Tiger Woods about how to handle his off-course issues.
''Sometimes you have to say 'no' and sometimes you have to put yourself first and say 'no,' and I need to do this for myself to maintain the level in my game,'' McIlroy said.
''It's something Tiger actually said to me last year. He said you have to remember what got you here in the first place, and you know Tiger, it's 'no' 99 percent of the time for him.''
McIlroy won last year's World Tour Championship at the Jumeriah Estates course when he birdied the closing five holes to overtake Justin Rose and end the year with money titles in Europe and on the PGA Tour.
He still has two more tournaments left in 2013, the Australian Open in Sydney and the Woods-hosted World Challenge at Thousand Oaks.