Red-shirted Rory McIlroy channels Tiger Woods for Sunday swan song

Ross Kinnaird

Rory McIlroy may protest that he’s not quite in Tiger Woods’ league yet, but that hasn’t stopped Caroline Wozniacki’s curly-haired boyfriend from channeling his inner Eldrick when he needs it.

McIlroy, who put an exclamation mark to a Tiger-like season (five worldwide wins, including one major) with a two-stroke victory in Dubai, did so not only without his A game but while sporting Woods’ signature Sunday scarlet.

“I guess that's been the big difference this year is when I'm not playing my best, I'm still able to compete and able to I guess win tournaments,” McIlroy told reporters Sunday after starting his final round at the World Tour Championship with a bogey and ending it with five consecutive birdies to finish at 23-under. “That's something I said earlier in the year that I wanted to try and get better at. I felt my previous wins before this year, I've just played great golf and no one could really get near me in any way.

“But being able to win not with your best game is I guess what Tiger has done for so many years,” the PGA and European Tour money title winner said, referring to his boyhood idol and on-course best bud who in his prime could conquer lesser mortals playing on just one good leg (see: 2008 U.S. Open). “That's why he's won so many tournaments, and I feel like I'm definitely not at that level quite yet but I'm learning how to do it.”

Clearly a student of “how to do it,” McIlroy donned a blood red shirt for Sunday’s closing round -- a fashion choice he consciously made in the finale of his eight-stroke PGA Championship win as well. This time, the golfer many of his peers believe will break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major titles called Woods out again but claimed his season-ending over armor was a matter of dirty laundry and may or may not become part of his regular raiment rotation.

“It seems to work. I know it's worked for someone for a while,” McIlroy said to laughter. “No, I'm not sure. It was actually the only last clean tee shirt I had, that's the honest truth. But no, as I said, it worked for the last couple of times but I don't think there's anything to it.”

Anyone else notice how well Rory's ruby power shirt would match up with Nike's new cherry Covert driver?

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