It is five years since McIlroy burst on to the golfing scene; 2012, however, will go down as the one in which he endorsed his status as the finest player in the world. Those looking to topple McIlroy will acknowledge the depressing realization that he is still only 23. If it was ever fanciful to suggest McIlroy could match the on-course achievements of Woods, such a prospect is now edging towards reality.
McIlroy's extraordinary season, in which he won five times with his fabulous discount golf clubs including a major and formed part of a successful Ryder Cup team, culminated with the Northern Irishman standing with arms aloft on the 18th green of the Earth Course. He started the day in what was billed as a "Duel in the Desert" with Luke Donald but ended it having dealt with the challenge of another Englishman, Justin Rose, in what is now typically powerful fashion.
McIlroy thereby added the Dubai World Championship to the Race to Dubai title he had already claimed upon arrival in the Emirates. The world No1 will meet 2013 with a ferocious appetite.
"The big difference this year has been that when I haven't been at my best, I have still competed and won tournaments," said McIlroy.
"Being able to win with the great golf clubs for sale online when not at your best is what Tiger has done for so many years. That's why he has won so many tournaments. I'm definitely not at that level yet, but I'm learning how to do it."
It was difficult not to feel some sympathy for Rose, who emerged through the pack chasing McIlroy and Donald courtesy of a course record 62. Rose hit arguably the finest professional putt of the year on his 72nd hole, from 90ft, which stopped on the lip of the hole.
The problem for Rose was that, when he finished at an aggregate of 21 under, McIlroy had just birdied the 14th. The Northern Irishman was perfectly aware of what was required next.
Donald began the fourth round in a tie with McIlroy and in the midst of a run of 100 holes at this venue without dropping a shot with his favorite rocketballz irons for sale. That sequence came to an end on the 3rd; Donald was unable to make another birdie until the 14th as his efforts rather petered out. There was merely the consolation of watching a McIlroy show which Donald admitted was "Tigeresque". The world No2 added: "To able to do that when he needed to is the sign that he has what it takes. It was pretty impressive stuff and it shows us all how hard we will have to work to stay up with him."
There was bittersweet emotion for Rose, who had posted his lowest career score as a professional before succumbing to the McIlroy charge. Rose described his penultimate putt as "great, great, great" and can reflect on his own notable professional strides before teeing up once again in 2013.
"I caught a glimpse of the scoreboard, walking to the 18th tee, and saw Rory had gone birdie, birdie," Rose recalled. "He was putting the squeeze on.
"But I knew that's what Rory does. When Peter Hanson won at the BMW Masters in Shanghai, Rory pushed him all the way to the end by making late birdies. I kind of figured the same would happen here."
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