Rory McIlroy continued his electric form to claim his first victory of 2024 on Sunday, winning a record-breaking fourth Dubai Desert Classic.
The Northern Irishman tasted disappointment in the same city last weekend when a wayward tee shot at the 18th saw him throw away victory to Tommy Fleetwood at the Dubai Invitational.
McIlroy won the Desert Classic last year and went into the tournament seeking to become the outright most successful golfer at the event, having been tied with Ernie Els on three titles.
Despite entering the weekend ten shots off the lead and seemingly out of contention, an outrageous 63 on Saturday - capped off by a stunning eagle putt at 18 - put him right in the mix on Sunday.
He did not look back after taking the lead in the final round and, despite shooting one over par on the back nine, he was ultimately victorious by one shot over Pole Adrian Meronk.
McIlroy revealed after his final round that he had judged the weekend to perfection, predicting on Friday evening the score he would need over the weekend to win in Dubai.
Rory McIlroy called the weekend in Dubai perfectly
Speaking to Sky Sports, Rory McIlroy said that he had attempted to predict on Friday evening what he would need to do to get himself back into contention at the Dubai Desert Classic.
Predicting that he would need to shoot -10 over the two rounds to be in with a chance of winning, McIlroy ultimately shot -11 to win by one stroke - an extraordinary example of his ability to read the golf course:
I thought, the way the golf course was trending, that two 67s would really have a chance.
Obviously the 63 yesterday put me in a great position but...I thought on Friday night that ten under for the weekend would give me a really good chance to win. I shot -11 and ended up winning by one!
[I've] played the game long enough to sort of know how these things are going to go. Thankfully, I played the golf I needed to. It's incredible to get my fourth win.
After the disappointment of last weekend's runner-up spot, victory at the Dubai Desert Classic was the perfect response from Rory McIlroy - and sends an ominous message to his competitors ahead of the 2024 Major season.
"I didn't really think about that during the round" 😅
Rory McIlroy reacts to his historic fourth win at the Dubai Desert Classic 👏 pic.twitter.com/ISjBFLP2C1
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) January 21, 2024
McIlroy said that victory in Dubai was a "great platform" to build on, and said that he hoped to bring the lessons learned from weekends such as these into the Majors later this year:
It's a great start to the season. I started well last year with the win here - in a little more dramatic fashion on the last green compared to that there!
But it's a great platform to build from. I know I'm playing good golf, there's still a few misses off the tee left, one got me on 18 last week, I missed the tee shot left on 13 today which cost me a shot. There was one on 16 as well, which almost cost me a shot.
[There's a] couple of little things left to work on, but these weeks are great. You learn a ton from them. It's obviously great to have the competition and come out on top as well.
Rory McIlroy is next in action at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the first weekend of February.