McIlroy breaks title drought but learns from frustrations

Sun Dec 1, 2013 4:21am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy buried his 2013 title drought in the most dramatic fashion at the Australian Open on Sunday and said he thought a largely frustrating season might just make him a more complete player.

The Northern Irishman had a brilliant 2012 but a change of equipment and some off-course legal distractions coincided with a slump in form that saw him slide from number one in the world down to number six.

On Sunday, though, the 24-year-old re-entered the winners' circle when he birdied the 18th hole to snatch the title away from U.S. Masters champion and home favourite Adam Scott with the final stroke of the tournament.

"I think I'm more experienced, more patient," he said when asked what he had learnt this year.

"Not getting as down on myself or not being as hard on myself because golf is a long career and you can't have too many highs and lows in terms of emotions.

"You've just got to try and keep it on an even keel and I feel like I've done a better job of that this year as the months have gone past.

"You know you have to go through the lows," he added. "And I'm not saying it was a low this year, it's not like I plummeted off the face of the earth.

"I'm still sixth in the world so it's not too bad. It's not the level that I feel like I can play to but I feel I'm getting back there, so it's very pleasing."   Continued...

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy holds aloft the trophy after winning the Australian Open golf tournament at Royal Sydney Golf Club December 1, 2013. REUTERS/Steve Christo