McIlroy ready for the big time
In the space of four days he was told he was a better prospect than Tiger Woods was at the same time of life, he won his first pro tournament and his world ranking is now lower than his age. That's not half bad when you are only 19.
An Augusta practice round with Woods is being arranged for his Masters debut and in the meantime he's weighing up how to spend his latest winnings.
He's also wondering whether he would be allowed insurance for what he really wants to buy with the £302,000 he made in the desert.
And that's because Rory McIlroy doesn't turn 20 until the May Day bank holiday and insurance companies don't like combining the exuberance of youth with fast cars.
They don't take account of much beyond the bald facts. Youth plus speed equals no deal. But if such firms felt golfing maturity was a worthwhile factor they would surely have no such qualms - sign on the dotted line here young sir...
McIlroy stumbled over the winning line at the Dubai Desert Classic. What might have been a stunning stroll to his first victory became a tortuous test of frayed nerves, but he got the job done by the narrowest of margins.
In some respects the manner of his win made it more impressive than if he had romped away with the title after assuming a six-stroke advantage on the back nine of the final round.
Consider the backdrop to this victory. The Northern Ireland youngster (how delicious it is that such a star in the making should come from a town called Holywood) was due a win.
At the time, I wrote that he and Oliver Wilson must be feeling desperate for a win - Wilson still waits. Some of you misinterpreted this as me saying McIlroy was becoming some kind of choker and I was at a loss as to how anyone could draw that conclusion.
The point I was making was that he was getting closer and closer.
And it continued to become clearer that he was straining at the leash to cross the finishing line first.
From missing the tiddler that would have broken his duck at Crans-sur-Sierre, the boy with the bushy Dennis the Menace hair strung together a superb run of near misses.
There have been eight top 10 finishes in 12 outings including four top fives in the six tournaments leading up to his Dubai victory.
In the last of the three desert swing events he opened with a stunning 64 in the company of former Masters and Open winner Mark O'Meara.
The experienced American immediately compared him favorably with Woods at a similar age and promised to fix up a Masters practice date with the world number one.
Such words must have provided a huge injection of confidence, but they also heightened expectation. After that first round McIlroy must have sensed his time was coming.
This was the course where he has most experience of the big time. He'd won there as an amateur and was playing the Dubai Desert Classic for the fourth time.
He had the first round lead, plaudits echoing in his ears, but the job still had to be done - a high-quality field needed to be beaten and a winning duck broken.
"There was a monkey on my back," McIlroy admits. It seems apparent that it was weighing heavily, even when he opened such a commanding lead in the final round.
Afterwards he readily agreed with me that monkey was growing into a gorilla as he started to fritter shots on the way home.
"If I had not won after holding a six-shot lead, it would have been tough to take and hard to come back from that. But I was able to scrape in at the end," he said.
He did more than scrape home because ultimately it took a stroke of genius to secure this win. He executed a bunker shot of the utmost delicacy that had no margin for error.
In all the circumstances - water beckoning, Justin Rose ready to pounce, the emphatic lead all but thrown away - it was a terrifying shot that demanded huge nerve.
Yes he'd given Rose a chance to force a play-off with dropped shots at 15, 16 and 17 and by overhitting his third to the last, but take nothing away from McIlroy.
When he needed it he had the skill and temperament to see him over the line.
Remember the same green 12 months ago - a certain Tiger Woods looked like he had a blown his chances with a fluffed chip, only to drain an outrageous putt for victory.
Certain players have that happy knack of coming up with the required shot at the required time and it looks like McIlroy may be one of them.
Expectation levels are going to soar, especially as his world ranking (16) is now lower than his age.
His management company, Chubby Chandler's ISM, will have to handle him sensibly and I'm sure they will because they know just how precious a commodity this young man has become.
It is probably no bad thing that McIlroy is next headed to the US for his first tilt at success in WGC and PGA Tour events.
He will be able to take his initial steps stateside in relative anonymity, although I'm sure that it won't remain that way for much longer.
Happily all the indications are that he will continue to take his burgeoning success in his stride. Certainly it would take a significant shift in his very agreeable personality for that to change.
McIlroy is young, gifted and rich. He is now a winner and Dubai will be the first of many, you can be sure of that.
And that single bunker shot showed maturity beyond his years - the only pity for him is that car insurance forms tend not to take such qualities into account.