McIlroy rounds off dream year with 'unbelievable' final-round flourish
The hunger game is no work of fiction for Rory McIlroy. As the 23-year-old Northern Irishman reaffirmed his status as the world’s number one golfer with a sensational five-birdie finishing salvo to claim the DP World Championship in Dubai yesterday, McIlroy – who topped the money lists on both the European Tour and US Tour this season – remains as hungry as ever and has his sights set on further glory in 2013 in his quest to become one of the game’s greats.
“(To) win more Majors, to try and increase the tally of those and go there. I’ve won five tournaments this year and I would love to emulate that or do better next year,” responded McIlroy, on the cusp of a new $250 million multi-year sponsorship deal with Nike, when asked of his new targets.
He added: “I want to try and increase the Major tally from two to three or three to four (in 2013). So, I’ve a lot of goals going into next year . . . it’s been an incredible year and hopefully I can emulate it or even surpass it next year.”
McIlroy, who has taken a stranglehold on the world’s top spot since claiming a second career Major in lifting the US PGA at Kiawah Island in August, brought his season’s earning s on the European Tour alone to over €5.5 million, a record amount won by a player in a season. The Ulster man also brought his career earnings on the European Tour above €15 million, placing him 11th on the all-time list in just his fifth season as a professional.
“I just wanted to finish the season the way I thought I deserved to finish the season. You know, I played so well throughout the year and I didn’t want to just let it tail off sort of timidly. I wanted to come (to Dubai) and finish in style,” said McIlroy, who has notched up five tournament wins worldwide this season to make him the stand-out golfer in world golf.
McIlroy – who finished his season’s work yesterday by firing a final round 66 for 23-under-par total of 265, two shots clear of runner-up Justin Rose – described his latest win, where he birdied the final five holes of the final round, as “unbelievable.”
“It’s a great way to finish what has been a great season. I couldn’t have wished for any better . . . to back up 2011 after winning a Major to win another one this year and to be part of an unbelievable story of the Ryder Cup and then finishing off the season like this.”
McIlroy transformed his year into a stellar one with a record-breaking eight-shot win in the US PGA in South Carolina in August and followed up by dominating the US Tour’s FedEx Cup play-offs where he won twice.
Already assured of the Race to Dubai title before reaching the Middle East for the European Tour’s finale, McIlroy put the icing on the cake and, apart from his tournament winnings, also claimed the €770,000 bonus on offer for topping that list.
McIlroy, who has used Titleist clubs throughout his professional career, is set to make an imminent move to Nike – the same clubs used by former long-time world number one Tiger Woods – but has rubbished suggestions he will struggle in making the switch to different clubs.