Rory McIlroy has ended a turbulent year on a positive note by winning the Australian Open.
The 24-year-old has endured a largely forgettable 2013, which has been underpinned by a loss of form on the golf course and legal wranglings off it.
However, the former world No.1 and two-time major winner avoided going the entire calendar year without a victory by holding off home favourite Adam Scott at Royal Sydney.
Four shots behind the Masters champion going into the final round, McIlroy soon clawed back the deficit, helped in no small part by an eagle at the seventh.
Scott, seeking to complete a fourth win in as many weeks and looking to become only the second player ever to win the Australian ‘Triple Crown’ of PGA, Open and Masters victories in the same year, held a one-shot advantage going down the last.
"I wanted to get a win and finally I've been able to get one." - Rory McIlroy
However, when he bogeyed the 18th, that left the door ajar for Rory McIlroy to swoop in and take the title, which he duly did, converting a ten-foot putt for his fourth birdie of the day and a round of 66.
Afterwards, he admitted it was a relief to finally get back into the winner’s circle.
"I wanted to get a win and finally I've been able to get one," said Rory McIlroy, who has won at least once every year since 2009.
"I've been building confidence for a few weeks now. When I went to Asia, I started to play really well. I've worked hard, I've put the hours in and I've practised hard and finally it's turned around for me."
Scott, meanwhile, struggled to hide his disappointment after coming so close to emulating Robert Allenby’s 2005 achievement of winning the ‘Triple Crown’.
"I'm gutted,” said the 33-year-old. “I just misjudged on the last and a player as good as Rory is going to take that opportunity.”
Rory McIlroy: What’s in store in 2014?
Having finally ended his winless drought at the Australian Open, what do you think lies in store for Rory McIlroy in 2014? A return to world No.1? More major glory? Or do you think he will struggle again like he did in 2013? Leave your thoughts in our ‘Comments’ section below.