Even as he approached the closing stages of his final round and Ryder Cup colleague Justin Rose made a charge, many players who had enjoyed the 2012 he has might have settled for a very good second place.
But that’s not in Rory’s nature. He said he wanted to win the season-ending event, and that’s exactly what he did. He has a hunger to win – it’s not about money for him, it’s success – and that will stand him in very good stead for the future.
McIlroy was magnificent. To birdie his last five holes was phenomenal, especially up against Rose in wonderful form. Opponents knowing he can produce that kind of storming finish under pressure will only help him too. They will be even more aware of his position on the leaderboard during final rounds.
Rose also deserves credit for a great round, not least an incredible 100-foot putt that looked to have stopped, only to trickle to the edge of the hole. His runner-up finish lifts him to a career-high fourth in the world, which is fantastic for him and Europe, who, with McIlroy and Luke Donald in the top two, own three of the top four spots.
McIlroy, meanwhile, is about to switch from Titleist clubs to Nike, prompting questions about how it will affect his game. I wouldn’t worry too much; with that swing, he could play with a hockey stick.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam