Rory McIlroy described his closing spherical on the Dubai Desert Classic as one in every of his “toughest days” after holding off Patrick Reed to assert victory.
McIlroy and Reed had clashed all through the weekend within the United Arab Emirates as tensions continued to flare between PGA Tour gamers and people who have joined the breakaway LIV Golf collection.
Reed responded to being snubbed by McIlroy by flicking a tee on the Northern Irishman and later described the four-time main champion’s behaviour as being akin to that of “an immature little child”.
On the course, nevertheless, every participant was in good contact, with McIlroy surging right into a three-stroke lead forward of the ultimate spherical after a wonderful 65.
And although Reed completed strongly on Monday in Dubai, birdies on the seventeenth and 18th ensured McIlroy held on for a hard-fought, incident-packed victory.
The 33-year-old revealed that holding Reed’s presence out of his thoughts and focussing on his personal recreation proved key.
“Mentally today was one of the toughest days,” McIlroy defined after securing the win. “It would be easy to let emotions get in way.
“I had to really concentrate on focusing on myself, forget who was up there on the leaderboard, and I did that really, really well.
“I showed a lot of mental strength. There’s some things I need to learn from, improve on. But I’m going to enjoy this. It’s probably sweeter than it should be, or needs to be.”
McIlroy has been a outstanding, vocal critic of golfers who’ve defected to LIV Golf, incessantly talking out in opposition to the Saudi-backed occasions.
His determination to snub Reed forward of competitors within the UAE was prompted by the serving of a subpoena at his home on Christmas Eve, with McIlroy on account of be referred to as to present proof in after Reed lodged a defamation lawsuit in opposition to Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee.
McIlroy now has 15 victories on the DP World Tour, together with three Dubai Desert Classic crowns.
A then 19-year-old McIlroy claimed his first senior skilled victory on the occasion in 2009.