Rory McIlroy whiffs on big opportunity to get first win of 2014

So close for Rory McIlroy. (Getty Images)
So close for Rory McIlroy. (Getty Images)

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Rory McIlroy has finished T2 and T9 in his first two tournaments of the season which is a fantastic start to his 2014, right? 

Well yes, but also no.

McIlroy posted a 74 on Sunday at the Dubai Desert Classic when 70 (something he shot or broke every other day) would have gotten him into a playoff with winner Stephen Gallacher.

But McIlroy banged it all over the yard on Sunday and just couldn't close. He posted the worst score of anybody in the last five groups of the day.

McIlroy told Golf Channel the wheels came off early and he couldn't put them back on.

"I think anything that sort of could go wrong did," said McIlroy. "I hit a couple of loose drives, but I didn't really get away with them."

Gallacher is the first golfer to win this tournament in back to back years.

There were opportunities for McIlroy -- after a front nine in which Gallacher went out in 39 and McIlroy in 36 it seemed like the Ulsterman would catch him -- but three bogeys in the first four holes on the back nine ultimately sunk McIlroy.

Gallacher, who shot a ho-hum even-par 72, summed it up best when the tournament was over.

"I was quite fortunate that nobody was running away with it so I just tried to hit one shot at a time and stay in it."

I'm sure people will try and project the rest of McIlroy's season (and probably even career) based on this finish but it means nothing.

We're talking about a guy who dropped an 80 in the final round at the 2011 Masters and won two majors shortly thereafter.

If anything, for McIlroy fans, his two top 10s to start the season should be an encouragement. McIlroy led the Dubai field in driving distance and with a few tweaks will be leading fields in shots under par, and thus, wins.


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CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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