If you got up early this morning to catch the European Tour’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic you weren’t disappointed. Heck, I was already fired up from watching Roger Federer win his 20th tennis major at the Australian Open so I tuned into The Golf Channel’s early morning telecast and watched another former number one make his comeback. Who needs sleep anyway?
While the world is focused on Tiger Woods in San Diego Rory McIlroy is well on his way to form on the other side of the world.
McIlroy started the day one shot behind leader Haotong Li of China and was looking to improve on his third place finish last week. He looked to be in great shape as he took a two stroke lead at the turn after Li stumbled with two bogeys in his opening three holes on the back nine.
But Li played heroic golf as he steadied himself down the stretch with four birdies in his last six holes including seventeen and eighteen and he clinched the victory as McIlroy waited to putt on the last.
McIlroy wasn’t pleased with his fumbling away his lead but is very happy with the start to his season as he tries to comeback from a rib injury that cut short his 2017 season.
“From being two ahead standing on the 11th tee to being level going into 16, I just don’t know,” he said. “It was a couple of bad shots, a couple of poor decisions, a couple of mental errors, a few tentative putts out there as well.
“I kept leaving myself in places where I couldn’t really give it a run at the hole because they were downhill, downgrain, downwind. So I didn’t really leave it in the best spots to be aggressive with my putts.
“I just wish I could get a couple of those holes back.”
“If someone had told me at the start of the year, ‘you’d finish third and second your first two events’, I’d say, ‘yeah, I’d take that’.
“But being in the positions I’ve been in and having two close calls the first couple of weeks of the year, it’s a little difficult.
“The competitor in me is very disappointed right now. I wanted to win. I always want to win and I just didn’t do enough when I needed to.”
While Tiger is still searching for his game and “feels” as he like to call it, McIlroy looks fit, in form and ready to start his climb back into the world’s elite.