As if to foreshadow a rambunctious 2011, Rory McIlroy closed the Dubai World Championship the way all golfers yearn to play all 18th holes all over the planet. He made a masterful eagle.
"Yeah, great to finish off like that," said the 21-year-old Northern Irishman whose final round reflected his season that was both spectacular and inconsistent.
Ending a year containing a 62 to win on the PGA Tour at Quail Hollow and third-place finishes at both the British Open and PGA Championship, McIlroy tacked a 67 on to his third-round 66 to move up to fifth place at 12 under.
He branded the season "OK", a mark of ambition given his ranking dipped only from No 9 to No 10. While he could not win on the European Tour, McIlroy might have barged into the play-off yesterday had he not fluffed a four-footer on the ninth to fuel a bogey at the 10th.
"Yeah, I'm feeling much more comfortable," he said, "and as you've seen with the shot at the last I'm capable of doing it. So, yeah, I just need to do a little bit of work in the off-season and hopefully come back and get ready to go for Abu Dhabi."
Abu Dhabi in January would begin McIlroy's bid to play Europe in earnest with the goal of winning the 2011 Race To Dubai. To close 2010, he played his last five holes in four-under par but said: "I mean, looking back on the year, I'll probably be a little disappointed, but that's natural, and you know, that's golf."