Dubai – Rory McIlroy has promised a repeat of his stunning 2012 after he finished the season with five birdies in a row to win his fifth title of the year and a $2.33 million pay-day in Dubai.
The 23-year-old from Holywood, Northern Ireland, took the DP World Tour Championship in the Gulf on Sunday, after embarrassingly missing the cut in Hong Kong and vowing to come back in style in the European Tour's season-ending tournament.
The victory left him a staggering 4.33 average points ahead of Luke Donald on top of the world rankings, cementing his stranglehold on the top spot and the money list on both sides of the Atlantic in the second half of the year.
The win in Dubai saw him fight back to overcome a two-stroke deficit against Justin Rose, setting him up for a strong start in 2013.
“To finish off the season like this and gain another 65-odd world ranking points (he actually gained 58), it puts me in a really strong position going into next year. It's great to know that going into the off-season,” he said.
“I had a few goals starting off this year. Obviously I wanted to win a Major. I think I wanted to win four times around the world, I wanted to win the Race to Dubai and I wanted to get to world no.1, which I achieved earlier in the year.
“I guess every goal that I set myself at the start of 2012, I've achieved this year. It doesn't really get much better than that.”
As for his targets in 2013, McIlroy said: “I guess the same. To be focused on the Majors, try to win more of those. I've won one in 11, one in 12, it would be nice to keep that run going next year. Two Majors would be even better.
“I am half-way towards a grand slam, so it would be nice to get my hands around the other two (the Masters and the British Open).
“And as I said before, I just try to keep improving as a player. I feel like I can improve in different areas of the game still. That's the challenge and the fun of practice – trying to get better all the time.”
One of the big differences McIlroy felt in his game was his ability to compete even when he is not playing his best golf.
“I guess that's been the big difference this year. That's something I said earlier in the year that I wanted to try and get better at,” he added.
“I felt my previous wins before this year, I've just played great golf and no one could really get near me in any way.
“But being able to win not with your best game is I guess what Tiger (Woods) has done for so many years. That's why he's won so many tournaments and I feel like I'm definitely not at that level quite yet but I'm learning how to do it.”
McIlroy played 24 recognised events in 2012, winning five of them – including his second career Major at the PGA Championship in Kiawah Island by a whopping margin of eight shots – and finishing in the top 10 in 15.
He also missed five cuts, including the US Open Championship and the BMW PGA Championship. – Sapa-AFP