Remember when we were all wondering what was wrong with Rory McIlroy?
It was just a year ago when McIlroy was sitting atop the world of golf, having surpassed Tiger Woods and ascending to the No. 1 ranking. 2013 was supposed to be his year, and then, it wasn’t. He went through his entire PGA Tour schedule without a win, missing the cut at the Open Championship, and ceded the top spot back to a resurgent Woods.
How long ago does that seem now?
While McIlroy had to survive one of the more humbling years of his professional career, it seems to be turning around in dramatic fashion lately. He had a remarkable come-from-behind victory over Adam Scott at December’s Australian Open, and now he may be poised for a second win in as many months at the Dubai Desert Classic.
It wasn’t an easy day, but McIlroy found some timely birdies to maintain a one-shot lead over American Brooks Koepka at 11-under-par.
Say what you want about Rory – everybody else has had their own input whether it’s been about his golf game or his love life. If you listen to what he said after the round, it sounds like he’s got just as much of a winning attitude as he ever has.
“I’m leading the golf tournament. I’ve been in this position before and I’ve went on to win,” McIlroy said. “I’ve led from the front quite well in tournaments that I have won. I feel like I am still playing well and I know the course just as well as anyone else. I’m now expecting to go out there and shoot two good scores over the weekend and hopefully lift the trophy.”
It may not be a major, but being paired with Woods for the first two rounds, the head-to-head comparisons were bound to be drawn, and McIlroy has left no doubt in coming out on top. This might not be a major championship, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this tone carries over throughout 2014.