Rory McIlroy ends 2013 drought with win at the Australian Open

Shane Bacon

This season wasn't supposed to happen to Rory McIlroy. Nope, this was the year that Rory was expected to sign his monster club and clothing deal with Nike and burst out of the gate with the Swoosh and the swagger and the knowledge that he is the Next Big Thing in the game of golf and nobody else was even close.

That, of course, didn't happen. McIlroy struggled all season with his golf swing and his attitude and rumors after rumors that tend to follow around a high profile athlete like this 24-year-old Northern Irishman.

But Sunday at the Australian Open was a different story. Half a world away from a tough season on the PGA Tour, McIlroy was one of the headliners at the Royal Sydney Golf Club and after two rounds the tournament had the dream final group they had hoped for.

McIlroy was paired with beloved Australian Adam Scott and it seemed for the final 36 holes it was simply a battle between these two major champions.

Rory came to the final hole needing a birdie to win his first professional event of the season and deny Scott the Triple Crown of Australian golf (Scott had already won the Australian Masters and Australian PGA in November).

It was one of those moments that golf fans simply wanted to see, a putt from a man searching for that elusive title to get back to being dominant and break the nasty funk he was in for the past 11 months.

Rory rolled in the putt, lifted his arms and it seemed at that moment, everything was right in the world again.

The win was impressive, but his play down the stretch was even better. Rory didn't make a bogey over his final 31 holes and his closing 66 tied John Senden for low round of the day in Sydney.