RORY McILROY'S rivals were in awe of his two-shot victory at the DP World Tour Championship and compared the world No 1's form to the dominance Tiger Woods displayed in his prime.
The Irishman landed his fifth title of the year, countering a course-record 62 by Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose with a stunning sequence of five straight birdies at the conclusion of the final European Tour event of the season in Dubai.
Luke Donald, who played alongside McIlroy in the last round at the Earth course, said the 23-year-old's display proved he was the world's outstanding golfer. "He showed a lot of grit and determination," said second-ranked Donald. "It capped off an amazing year for him. Rory has been the best player all year and that was some finish.
"I think he'll be around for a long time but it's good because he'll push me to work harder," added the 34-year-old Englishman, who collected three victories of his own this season.
South African Charl Schwartzel, who finished tied for third with Donald, was also impressed by McIlroy's golf produced in 2012. "Rory is playing like Tiger did in his young days and it's amazing to see," said last year's US Masters champion.
"To watch it happen, and Justin coming up shooting a 10-under 62, shows how strong golf is right now."
Schwartzel's sentiments were echoed by fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen. "Rory is probably playing the golf Tiger was playing when he was on form," said the 2010 British Open champion after coming fifth in Dubai. "At the moment Rory's in his own world which is great to see."
McIlroy's other victories this year came in the US PGA Championship, the Honda Classic in Florida and two events in the US PGA Tour's end-of-season FedExCup play-off series.