Rory McIlroy makes touching Tiger Woods admission after record-breaking Dubai win

Rory McIlroy secured a record fourth Hero Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club on Sunday, and in the aftermath paid tribute to his good friend and ‘hero’ Tiger Woods

Rory McIlroy has revealed his record-breaking run in the Dubai Desert Classic was inspired by Tiger Woods, after the Northern Irishman defended his title on Sunday.

By winning the Rolex Series event in the Middle East for a record-tying fourth time, McIlroy cemented his place in DP World Tour history. The Northern Irishman was 10 shots behind Cameron Young at the halfway point, so his comeback was truly amazing.

However, McIlroy put on an extremely impressive display on Saturday, charging into contention with a third round nine-under-par 63 to guarantee he started the final round just two back.

After several mistakes from Young, he then got off to an even better start on Sunday, making three birdies in his first nine holes to take the lead at the turn. After that, he played the last nine holes of the competition in one over, but it was enough to defeat Adrian Meronk, another challenger, and Young.

For the fourth time, McIlroy’s name was inscribed on the Dubai Desert Classic; however, the Northern Irishman is not the only one to star among previous winners. Having won the tournament twice, Woods is among his closest friends and is regarded as golf’s greatest player of all time. McIlroy acknowledged that it is even more special to be following in his hero’s footsteps.

When asked what it meant to him to leave a lasting legacy in the world of professional golf, he said, “Everything.” It’s the only way, in my opinion, to be able to evaluate yourself against the role models of your childhood. As I grew older, Tiger Woods became my hero.

“I desired to follow Tiger’s lead. Even though I probably won’t have the same career as him, I still look at the trophies I’ve won and see that my name ison the same ones as his, which is Placing your name on the trophies that those who came before you have placed their names on is, I don’t know of a better way to measure success in the game.”

The topic of creating a “legacy” has gained a lot of attention recently due to the growth of LIV Golf and the enormous financial appeal it has for several PGA Tour players. On the other end of the scale, McIlroy mentioned the accomplishments of 22-year-old Michael Thorbjornsen, who won this event for the second consecutive year as the top amateur.

Thus, he hopes to have the same impact on the young American. “I find it to be a really cool thing. It’s Michael Thorbjornsen’s second amateur victory here. I hope that in 15, 20, or more years, he will be reflecting and examining the trophies bearing my name.”

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