Rory McIlroy has prevailed in a nail-biting finish over Patrick Reed — the man he “prefers not to acknowledge” after a spat between the two — in the rain-delayed $9 million Dubai Desert Classic.
It was the first time McIlroy has won the first start of his new season and is his 15th DP World Tour victory in 231 starts. It was also his third Dubai Desert Classic victory in 13 appearances.
He will remain world number one after Spaniard Jon Rahm failed to win the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour.
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“It was a battle all day. Honestly it’s been a battle all week,” McIlroy said after his win.
“I feel like I haven’t been at my best all week, but I just managed my game so well (on Monday) and played really smart.
“I definitely feel like there’s…