Rory McIlroy’s status as the best player in the world was confirmed with him winning the World Tour Championship, the season finale on the European Tour.
The expected showdown between McIlroy and Luke Donald did not quite materialise as McIlroy outscored the player ranked second in the world by five shots. Justin Rose (pictured) emerged as the main challenger with a 10 under par round of 62.
McIlroy showed his undoubted ability and class by birdieing the last five holes to win the Dubai event for the first time in his career. He has already won the Race to Dubai, formerly the Order of Merit, but clearly his motivation was not lacking in the last official event of the year.
The World Tour Championship is the European Tour’s equivalent of the Tour Championship in the States. The huge prize fund, including a Bonus Pool, is designed to attract the best players in Europe. The top 60 in the standings qualify and only three of those players did not compete in Dubai.
The field included five players from the top 10 in the world rankings. Four of those made the top five places and ties which proved that the cash incentives motivated the better golfers to play to their full potential.
Ahead of the fourth round McIlroy and Donald led the rest of the field by three shots. These players have contrasting playing styles and are suited to different types of course. That means they rarely play alongside each other over the last two rounds of tournaments.
Neither made an outstanding start to the final round on Sunday. After four holes Donald was a shot ahead but he played the remaining holes in just one under to drop out of contention. McIlroy reached the turn in one under but played the back nine in five shots better than par.
Rose was playing his way to the top of the leader board by reaching the turn in four under. Four birdies, an eagle and no bogeys meant he set a clubhouse target that only McIlroy could reach. A birdie blitz over the closing five holes meant McIlroy won this lucrative and prestigious tournament.