Rory McIlroy has insisted that he remains "the best player in the world" despite a prolonged period of inconsistency.
The Northern Irishman has dropped down to 14th position in the World Golf Rankings, a consequence of just one tournament win since the start of 2020.
While the four-time major champion can also include six top-10s from this year to his list of achievements, he has performed well below his capabilities for some time.
However, ahead of his appearance at the CJ Cup in Las Vegas this week, the 32-year-old has defiantly stated that he has full confidence in his own ability.
Speaking to reporters, McIlroy said: "I think when I play my best, I'm the best player in the world. I haven't played like that for a while, though, but I don't feel like I need to go that far back to whenever the pandemic hit, when I was the number one player in the world. I don't have to look that far back to see my name at the top of the rankings.
"Obviously the last 18 months haven't been what I've wanted them to be, but if you keep it in perspective, I'm not that far away. And there's a ton of great players now that play obviously really, really good golf.
"I feel like the talent pool is just getting deeper and deeper every year, so you have to strive to keep trying to get better to stay where you want to stay."
McIlroy finished in a share of 21st place in last year's CJ Cup.