Rory McIlroy Wins Dubai Desert Classic with Dramatic One-Shot Victory
Rory McIlroy captured his third Dubai Desert Classic title with a dramatic one-shot victory over Patrick Reed. McIlroy started the year with a win for the first time in his career and is the first player to do so.
The world No. 1 was slow to start but got going with three consecutive birdies on holes 9, 10 and 13 before his lone bogey of the day on 15 gifted Reed the lead. McIlroy took full advantage with a birdie on the 17th to reclaim top spot and then sealed the victory with a birdie putt from around 15 feet at the 18th.
The week began with a reported “incident” between the two when McIlroy snubbed Reed on the practice range, with Reed responding by throwing a tee towards McIlroy. McIlroy then revealed that he had been served a subpoena on Christmas Eve by Reed's lawyer, Larry Klayman, in relation to a lawsuit Klayman has filed against the DP World Tour and PGA Tour for suspending LIV players. According to Reed, McIlroy was acting like a “immature little child” and, therefore, should be treated as such.
Rory McIlroy was perilously close to ruining his chances of winning the tournament when his tee shot on the 18th hole almost landed in the water. He hit his second shot from the red penalty area and put it on the par-5 hole. McIlroy was able to snatch victory from the brink of defeat in what happened next. He launched a tee shot onto the front edge of the drivable 17th for a two-putt birdie and then, after narrowly missing the water with his tee shot on 18, he opted to lay up and rely on his tidier wedge game. Given some of his recent memories there, it proved a prudent choice.
McIlroy’s victory is a testament to his offseason practice and preparation as he starts calendar years strong. Despite not having his best game, McIlroy was able to hold it together and prove that he can win even when he’s not playing his best. McIlroy expressed his satisfaction with being able to win “when you don’t have your best, that’s sort of like the Holy Grail of what we’re trying to do.
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1. “Rory McIlroy sees off challenge from arch rival Patrick Reed to win dramatic Dubai Desert Classic” Independent.ie, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.independent.ie/sport/golf/rory-mcilroy-sees-off-challenge-from-arch-rival-patrick-reed-to-win-dramatic-dubai-desert-classic-42318734.html
2. “McIlroy repels Reed to win Dubai Desert Classic” RTE.ie, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.rte.ie/sport/golf/2023/0130/1352633-mcilroy-holds-off-to-reed-to-win-in-dubai/
3. “Rory McIlroy edges Patrick Reed at 2023 Dubai Desert Classic to cap dramatic week on DP World Tour” CBS Sports, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.cbssports.com/golf/news/rory-mcilroy-edges-patrick-reed-at-2023-dubai-desert-classic-to-cap-dramatic-week-on-dp-world-tour
4. “Rory McIlroy's Late Surge Edges Patrick Reed at Hero Dubai Desert Classic” Sports Illustrated, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.si.com/golf/news/rory-mcilroy-late-surge-edges-patrick-reed-hero-dubai-desert-classic
5. “Rory McIlroy sinks birdie on 18th to hold off Reed and win Dubai Desert Classic” The Guardian, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2023/jan/30/rory-mcilroy-sinks-birdie-on-18th-to-hold-off-reed-and-win-dubai-desert-classic
6. “Monday Scramble: Rory thrives again in the drama, Homa the California King” Golf Channel, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.golfchannel.com/news/monday-scramble-rory-thrives-again-drama-homa-california-king