Rory McIlroy says he's a 'complete golfer' after clinching Race to Dubai

Northern Irishman's fourth place at DP World Tour Championship enough to take the crown for fourth time

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Rory McIlroy says he feels he is “as complete a golfer” as he has ever been after finishing the season as Europe’s No 1 for a fourth time.

A decade on from winning the Race to Dubai for the first time at Jumeirah Golf Estates, the 33-year-old world No 1 clinched the crown again.

Unlike back then, when he beat Justin Rose by two strokes to win the DP World Tour Championship, he did not claim a monopoly of the stash on offer at the Earth Course.

This time around, Jon Rahm beat him to the season-ending tournament title. The Spaniard closed with a five-under-par round of 67 to get to 20-under for the tournament, two shots clear of Tyrrell Hatton and Alex Noren.

McIlroy’s final round of 68 was enough for 16-under and fourth place. It also kept at bay his DP World Tour rankings rivals. Ryan Fox was the eventual runner up, with Rahm third, and Matt Fitzpatrick fourth.

“One of the things I'm really proud of over the last few years is I don't feel I have to rely on one aspect of my game,” McIlroy said.

“I think if my driving isn't there, then my putter bails me out. If my putter isn't there, my iron play bails me out.

“I feel like when you get to this level, it's about how can you make those incremental improvements to get better.

“I think my goal has been to just become a more complete golfer, and I feel like I'm on the journey to doing that.

“I'm as complete a golfer as I feel like I've ever been, and hopefully I can continue on that path.”

McIlroy had no tournament wins in his run to the top of the DP World Tour rankings, but his season was remarkable for its consistency.

Of the 10 competitions played on tour, the Northern Irishman had a lowest placing of 12th, at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Yas Links in January. After that, his finishes were 3rd, 2nd, 8th, 5th, 3rd, 2nd, 4th, 4th and 4th.

“I think what set the foundation for this was my performance in majors and the bigger events on this tour,” he said.

“It feels funny winning without having an official win on this tour this year, but I think that just speaks to the consistency levels I have played with for the past few months.”

The Order of Merit win cemented McIlroy’s status as golf’s leading player, having earlier in the season reclaimed the world No 1 spot and won the FedEx Cup.

How to improve on such excellence next year? His answer is well-rehearsed and unequivocal.

“I probably sound like a broken record, but it has been eight years since I have won a major,” he said.

“I feel like I have done everything there is to do in the game since then. I have won three FedEx Cups since winning my last Race to Dubai. I have done a ton of stuff.

“I have been really encouraged this year with how I have played the majors. That is something to really build on for next year.

“[Winning the DP World Tour rankings and FedEx double] is an amazing achievement. It is very cool.”

Updated: November 20, 2022, 2:38 PM
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