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Rory McIlroy has had a pretty spectacular 2019, winning four times, closing the gap on Brooks Koepka at the world rankings, sealing victory in the FedEx Cup for the second time and being named PGA Tour ‘Player of the Year’.

Even so, Paul McGinley thinks there’s still scope for improvement.

Commentating on Sky Sports during the final round of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, where McIlroy finished fourth, former Ryder Cup skipper McGinley chimed in with his thoughts on the state of the four-time major winner’s game.

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After praising McIlroy’s short game as “something else”, McGinley added: “He’s not the full deal. There’s no doubt that his iron play has been poor and when he gets in inclement conditions he doesn’t seem to control the ball as well in the wind but there is lots to admire.

“His short game has become one of the strengths of his game when it used to be one of the weaknesses.”

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McGinley has never been one to pull punches in his appraisal of McIlroy. 

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A year ago, he described the 30-year-old’s decision to focus on the PGA Tour at the expense of the European Tour this season as “quite extraordinary” and, in April, he called McIlroy’ decision to skip this year’s Irish Open – hosted by McGinley at Lahinch – as “a disappointment”. Ahead of the tournament, he added the Irish Open “will always be bigger than any one player”.

McIlroy’s fourth place finish in Dubai was his eighth top-10 in 12 starts on the European Tour this season. His missed only one cut, in the Open Championship at Royal Portrush. 

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