Dubai: Looking back on a phenomenal year, golf’s world No. 1 Rory McIlroy said he had taken his game to a new level by conjuring victories when not necessarily being at the peak of his powers.
The 23-year-old Northern Irishman increased his big lead at the top of the rankings by winning the DP World Tour Championship by two shots on Sunday, capping the final event of the European season with a fantastic run of five birdies in a row.
It was McIlroy’s fifth victory of the campaign and was achieved even though he had been under the weather for most of the week, fighting sunstroke and a fever.
“That’s the big difference this year,” he told reporters in Dubai. “When I’ve not been playing my best I’ve still been able to compete and to win tournaments.
“That’s something I said earlier in the year I wanted to try and get better at. Being able to win without your best game is what (14-time Major champion) Tiger Woods has done for so many years. That’s why he’s won so many tournaments. I feel like I’m definitely not at that level quite yet but I’m learning how to do it. I am trying to do a Woods.”
Earlier this season McIlroy lifted his second Major title, adding the PGA Championship to the US Open he won in 2011.
Rory also won the Honda Classic in Florida and two tournaments in the US PGA Tour’s end-of-season FedExCup playoff series.
McIlroy has had such a hectic end to the year that he had not yet had time to appreciate the scale of his achievements.
“I guess the PGA is going to be my highlight of 2012. Europe’s Ryder Cup win is up there as well and Dubai is probably close behind,” he said. (agencies)