The two-time major winner is looking to become the first player to win the event in consecutive years since Jack Nicklaus in 1977 and 78, and thinks the conditions will be set fair to help him on his way.
"Hopefully I'm the first one since Jack to do it," he said. "This week always depends on the conditions, it can get quite windy here and the course can play firm and it can get tricky, but it doesn't look like it's going to be that way."
McIlroy is still adjusting to his new Nike equipment, but believes his game is suffering due to his swing.
The Northern Irishman penned a deal with Nike last month, reported to be a 10-year contract worth up to £150million, but missed the cut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship by four shots.
However, he insists it is more of a technique issue rather than struggling to adapt to his new clubs.
He added: "It is more about how I'm swinging the club. That's the real concern. It's a little bit mental, but it was more physical with my swing."
McIlroy now feels more comfortable, and says he will build confidence with each tournament.
"The ball was the easiest thing," he said of his new kit. "The biggest thing was finding a driver that suited me and I feel like I've got one now that really works."
If McIlroy is to defend his title, he will have to overcome a field which includes Tiger Woods, Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and Retief Goosen.