Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

McIlroy is in need of R&R

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy in laid-back form as he set the early pace in the Dubai Desert Classic.

An exhausted Rory McIlroy flies back to Northern Ireland today after the exertions of the past three weeks in America.

He has exploded into the American consciousness with his breathtaking play – but ran out of steam over the final round and a half at the WGC NEC Championship at Doral’s Blue Monster.

But even Tiger Woods is in no doubt that one day the young man from Holywood will usurp his position as the best in the game.

““There’s no doubt,” he said. “There’s no doubt. The guy’s a talent. Hopefully while I’m not around or while I’m around. Certainly he has the talent. We can all see it,” he said at the weekend.

“The way he hits the golf ball, the way he putts, the way he can chip, get up and down.

“He has the composure. He has all the components to be the best player in the world, there’s no doubt.”

After dropping three shots in the closing five holes on Saturday evening, McIlroy began the final round six shots adrift of joint leaders Phil Mickelson and Nick Watney.

And although he started with a birdie four, a made a double-bogey five and the short fourth hole to slip further off the pace.

Suddenly he was finding fairways difficult to find and although he was scrambling well and did not drop any further shots to the turn, solid starts from the leaders saw them both pick up a couple of shots early on.

There was some doubt as to whether Mickelson was even going to start the final round after requiring medical treatment for heat exhaustion following Saturday’s third round.

But he showed no ill-effects as he teed off with a birdie four to open and he immediately moved to 18 under for the tournament with a three at the next.

McIlroy will spend the next two weeks at home before heading back to the States at the start of April for three more tournament, including his Master debut.

Darren Clarke rallied with a three under closing 69 to aid his bid for a place at Augusta, but Graeme McDowell has yet to fire into life this season with a one over 73 to finish the tournament on two over.

It turned out in the end to be a good week back at the office for Tiger Woods who finished strongly at Doral.

And also for Padraig Harrington who despite some woefully wayward driving at times showed that he is back somewhere near his best.

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