By his own exceptionally high standards, it has been a disappointing season for Rory McIlroy.
The former world No.1 and four-time major champion has won just once – at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March – but blew a gilt-edged chance to win the Masters (and complete the career grand slam) the following month. That was just one of several near-misses the Northern Irishman has endured throughout the course of 2018.
So, as he prepares for his final event of the year – the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai – how would he grade his season?
“Probably a B-minus,” he told reporters in the UAE. “A win this week would get it up to a B.
“I don’t want to dwell too much on the negatives. There have been a lot of positives in there too. I’ve played consistently. I’ve had ten top 10s. I finished second and had a great chance at the Open. I played in the final group and had a chance to win the Masters. I’ve had chances to win big, big tournaments, so obviously the game’s right there. It’s just a matter of doing it when I need to do it the most.
“Results-wise, it hasn’t been the year that I’d wanted, even though I played in six final groups and, in 2016 and 2017 combined, I played in three or four final groups. That’s been a real, big positive but there’s a difference between getting into those final groups and finishing the job off, and that hasn’t been quite where I’ve wanted it to be.
“It’s been one of those year where things didn’t quite go my way but I’m working hard to try on trying to rectify that and making sure that next year’s a bit different.”
After this week, McIlroy will take some time off, with only one tournament on his schedule for the next 13 weeks. As well attending two wedding in Scotland in December, he’ll also be working hard to get his game in shape for an all-out assault on 2019.
One thing he won’t be doing, however, is shelling out to watch Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson’s much-vaunted ‘match’ in Las Vegas next week.
He admitted that he contemplated it but ultimately decided against it.
“If they would have done it 15 years ago it would have been great but I think, nowadays, it’s missed the mark a little bit,” he added.