Rory McIlroy wants to finish strong

PARAMUS, N.J. -- After winning his past three events, including both the Open Championship and the PGA Championship, Rory McIlroy said on Wednesday that he wants to end his season on a high note by taking the four-event FedEx Cup playoff series.

The series begins Thursday at the Barclays at the Ridgewood Country Club.

"For me, it would just be very gratifying to know that I finished the season off well and the way it should be finished off," McIlroy said. "It's a big four weeks coming up. The [playoffs] is one of the only things that I haven't achieved in this game."

In 2012, the 25-year-old Northern Irishman finished second in the playoffs to Brandt Snedeker.

McIlroy now draws off that experience, along with his recent performances in big tournaments, as a guide for this week's event at the A.W. Tillinghast-designed course, near New York City.

"I've had a great summer, and this is the next challenge and this is the next goal," he said. "Instead of dwelling or looking back on what you've done, look ahead and try and achieve the next goal.

"So regardless of if it was the FedEx Cup or another major championship or whatever it is, the next goal is always the most important one."

McIlroy, who is the No. 1-ranked men's player in the world, also dismissed the suggestion by many that his emergence is a signal that the torch is being passed to him by Tiger Woods.

"I'm not comfortable because I know [Tiger] is working his butt off to get back here and get back [to] where he wants to be," McIlroy said. "Look, I'm just going to keep playing my golf and play as good as I can, and I'll see where that takes me.

"But I don't think any torch has been passed and I don't think any torch will ever be passed because I never think of myself in that way. I don't see the need for me to carry any sort of torch. I just want to win golf tournaments."

McIlroy, who is ranked first in the FedEx Cup standings, starts his bid to claim his first playoff title on Thursday morning at 8:26 ET in a threesome with Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson.