Rory McIlroy silenced the critics who said he shouldn’t have been competing by winning the DP World Tour Championship and his third Race To Dubai title in four years. He proved once again what an outstanding competitor he is by the way he refused to buckle under the pressure put on him by the excellent Andy Sullivan and by surviving a nerve jangling experience on the 17th hole.
Two shots ahead on the short 17th, McIlroy dramatically hit his tee shot into the water 50 yards to the right, but the magnificently hold a 40 ft bogey putt which helped him win the tournament by one shot, his fourth tournament win of the year. “It’s the longest putt I’ve ever made for a bogey, it couldn’t have come at a better time, it’s the best bogey of my career. It seems the more pressure I’m under the better I putt, which is a nice thing to have”.
McIlroy’s driving was also peerless. Consistently 320 yards off the tee and usually accurately on the fairway. It is a sight to behold to watch him with his driver. Held back this year by an ankle injury which stopped what could have been an incredible year by a couple of months, he has told the press that mid season football is out for the forseeable future, calling his decision to play “silly”. The World No 3 realises that he can’t be complacent “I had a big lead in the World Rankings and then Jordan and Jason came right up behind me”. He goes into a long Christmas break vowing to come back healthier and stronger.
I also enjoyed again watching Andy Sullivan in contention. He brings a joy to the sport with his vocal band of supporters and his own great temperament he would make an impact in the Ryder Cup, should he qualify. He was respectful of McIlroy, telling his caddie that he expected a player of his calibre to hole the putt on 17 and saying it was awesome to go head to head with someone of his quality. But with three wins himself this season Andy Sullivan needs to wake up some self belief that he can consistently hold his own in the highest company and not be awed by anyone. Once that mental notch up has been made, then he’ll be ready to take on any American.