Rory McIlroy: I will be even better in 2013 - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Rory McIlroy: I will be even better in 2013

Golfer among those nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Dubai

The sporting pageant that is 2012 is just over two weeks away from the rubber stamp applied annually by the BBC. Who would be a golfer in a year of outstanding Olympic achievement, in a year when a Briton finally won a Grand Slam tennis event after a 76-year hiatus, or even won the Tour de France for the first time?

That is the lot of Rory McIlroy, whose own annus mirabilis closed with a fifth victory of the season in Dubai at the weekend and a message to all those behind him in the world ranking queue. Though it would be reward of sorts to follow Mark Cavendish into the BBC hall of fame, McIlroy does not need the Sports Personality of the Year award to legitimise his standing in golf, or the British sporting firmament.

The gap to second in the world rankings, a position presently held by Luke Donald, is greater than at any point since Tiger Woods was the man to whom all deferred. The manner of McIlroy's victory over Justin Rose was astonishing, five successive birdies to close, demonstrating not only technical command but a champion's heart.

McIlroy, at just 23 years old and with two major championships already in his possession, is already on a rare career trajectory. The worry for his rivals is the look in his eye when asked about the year ahead. For him 2013 cannot come soon enough.

"Every goal that I set myself at the start of 2012, I've achieved this year," he said. "The goal is the same for next year, to be focused on the majors, try to win more of those. I've won one in 2011, one in 2012, it would be nice to keep that run going next year. I just try to keep improving as a player. I feel like I can improve in different areas of the game still. That's the challenge and the fun of practice, trying to get better all the time."

He is already beginning to sound like Woods but, as yet, with none of the charm sucked out of him. His schedule is set for next year. He will play a maximum of 22 events, beginning in Abu Dhabi in January, and only five times before April ushers in the major season with the Masters at Augusta. "I've done my schedule. I'm not letting anyone persuade me to go anywhere else. I've learnt my lesson over the last couple of years, I'm going to stick to what I planned."

Donald emerged from the scorer's hut like a veteran returning from the front, in part due to overexposure to McIlroy, and also as a result of a sinus condition that requires surgery. Donald began the final round at the DP World Tour Championship sharing with McIlroy a three-shot lead. After two holes he led outright by two shots. What he witnessed thereafter left him struggling to find his bearings.

"Rory has been the best player all year and that was some finish by him," said Donald. "You have to give him a lot of credit for digging deep. I think both of us weren't feeling 100 per cent physically, but he found the strength to finish like that, and hats off to him, what a way to finish off a great year for him."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head