Rory McIlroy's 2013 season comes to an end over the next few days at the year-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, a competition in which he emerged victorious in 2012.
The current campaign has unfortunately not been quite as successful for the 24-year-old, who currently lies in 46th place in the Race to Dubai standings and has yet to win a tournament this year, per the European Tour website.
There can be no doubting the former world No. 1 and two-time major winner's talent. However, he has admitted to being distracted in 2013 by ongoing legal issues, per BBC Sport.
The Telegraph's James Corrigan reports that McIlroy hopes to use success in the World Tour Championship to regain his world No. 1 spot some time next year, but can he forget his off-course distractions enough to achieve success at Jumeirah?
Bleacher Report will track his progress throughout the tournament.
Rory McIlroy equalled his best round of the week to finish on 15-under at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
The Northern Irishman shot another 67, five-under par, and rose to tied fifth on the leaderboard. He shot under par in every round and will surely feel buoyed by this consistency and overdue burst of form.
Here's a look at the final tournament leaderboard.
|T8||Miguel Angel Jimenez||ESP||-14|
A full leaderboard can be found on the European Tour website.
McIlroy's hopes of moving into contention were scuppered by a pair of poorly timed bogeys at one and two.
This moved him back to eight-under, before an unblemished run of seven birdies in the 16 remaining holes propelled him back up the leaderboard.
Three birdies arrived in succession, at nine, ten and 11, with the others coming at five, seven, 16 and 18.
McIlroy now up to fifth. Third birdie in a row. Now -13. Playing alongside Luke Donald who's also on a run at -14.— Brian Rowan (@BrianPJRowan) November 17, 2013
While he finished a distant 10 shots behind the red-hot Henrik Stenson, a top-five finish will undoubtedly provide the Northern Irishman with some much-needed confidence for next season.
He looked back to his best during most stages of this tournament, which augurs well for the world of golf.
McIlroy continued his good form with another promising performance in the third round at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
The Northern Irishman showed signs he his creeping back towards his best as he shot a four-under 68. He is seven shots back from the leaders at the end of day three, and has an outside chance of challenging on the final day.
Here is the tournament leaderboard heading into the final day:
|5||Miguel Angel Jimenez||ESP||-12|
Whilst winning here is almost certainly beyond him, looking at the bigger picture, McIlroy will be delighted with the form he has showcased this weekend. He has been composed, galvanized and solid in his play, all attributed which bode well for a return to his sparkling best very soon.
On day three, McIlroy looked set to continue the promising form he showcased on day two. A birdie at the second was sandwiched by pars at the first and third. But he ran into trouble at four and five, bogeying both holes.
His head could have gone down. He could have become disillusioned. But encouragingly, he rallied. A birdie at seven was followed by another one at the tenth. Then, he sunk birdie puts at the thirteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth to go to nine under par. A birdie at the last meant he finished with a flourish and seemed pretty pleased with his performance in the aftermath (from Sky Sports):
I finished well, I finished strongly which was important especially after making bogey on 14, hitting it into the water which was pretty disappointing. It was another day when I gave myself plenty of chances, but I still feel like I left a couple out there.
It's not a bad position going into tomorrow, it looks like the guys aren't getting too far ahead... but I'll need to shoot something a bit lower tomorrow to have a chance
Rory McIlroy meets the media after round three pic.twitter.com/dY3AZliMXq— DPWTC (@DPWTC) November 16, 2013
Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy shot up the leaderboard in Dubai on Friday, carding a five-under-par round of 67 to move into the top ten—six shots behind overall leader Henrik Stenson.
With five birdies and an eagle in his round, McIlroy showed much improved form from his mediocre showing on Day 1 and put himself back into contention for the Tour Championship title on Sunday.
|9=||Rory McIlroy (+ 4 others)||NIR||-6|
A full leaderboard can be found on the European Tour website.
McIlroy once more shot out of the blocks with birdies on the opening two holes for the second day in succession and, while a dropped shot at the third threatened to undo the good work, McIlroy completed the opening nine holes at two-under.
However, after a steady turn, McIlroy picked up the pace on holes 13 and 14 with a birdie followed by an eagle on the long par five.
It could have become even better for the former world No. 1, whose putt from 20 feet at the 16th narrowly drifted wide of the cup while at six-under for the tournament.
Rory McIlroy after adding a 67 to his 71: "I feel like ball-striking wise it was very similar. I just took my chances when I got them."— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) November 15, 2013
His good work was in danger of being undone as a dropped shot on 17 followed that disappointment, but McIlroy redeemed himself on the last to end the day in a good position.
His round, though, was bettered by both Stenson and Englishman Ross Fisher, who both struck eight-under-par rounds of 64.
If the Swede continues his excellent form over the weekend, McIlroy and his fellow challengers may well find themselves competing for second.
Rory McIlroy made a solid start to life at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, carding a round of 71 to lie at one-under-par after 18 holes.
The round leaves the Northern Irishman five shots behind opening day leader Alejandro Canizares in the end-of-season finale.
McIlroy was among the early starters at the Jumeirah Golf Estates course and had a topsy-turvy front nine in which he carded four birdies and two bogeys.
Having begun by picking up shots at the opening two holes—thanks to a 30-foot putt for birdie on the first—it had appeared as if the 2012 champion was set for a fine day in the Middle East as his search for an elusive 2013 title continues.
However, poor chips on the fifth and eighth holes cost McIlroy shots, despite also picking up a birdie on the par-five seventh.
In comparison to his opening holes, the back nine was a sedate affair for McIlroy. He will be disappointed to have ended the day with a dropped shot on the par-five 18th, leaving him one under for the day.
With seven of the nine players still in mathematical contention for the Race of Dubai title ahead of him, including standings leader Henrik Stenson, McIlroy faces a sizeable challenge to retain his Tour Championship title.
One point of note, away from his golf game, was that girlfriend and tennis star Caroline Wozniacki accompanied McIlroy on his round—despite reports of a recent split, per by the Daily Mail.