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Rory McIlroy recreates victory photo from 2009 Dubai Desert Classic (minus some hair) after Sunday's win

January 22, 2024

Time is linear. Every day ends, and another one starts. We’re so ingrained in our little worlds doing our little tasks just trying to get by that we don’t think about the years speeding along every second, but then you see two photos of Rory McIlroy winning the Dubai Desert Classic 15 years apart and it all comes rushing back.

Wasn’t it just yesterday when the 19-year-old Northern Irishman bested Justin Rose by one stroke at Emirates Golf Club? It might seem that way, but it has instead been a decade and a half. And now in 2024, McIlroy beat Adrian Meronk (again, by one stroke) and we have these two photos making us feel really dang old.

Yes, that’s McIlroy with his parents in both snapshots, all kneeling behind the silver toucan-esque trophy. The outfits have changed, Rory’s hair has been snipped—thank god—and the Swoosh insignia is now centerstage, but the wins are still coming fast and furious.

One Reddit commenter pointed out the Top 10 in the world rankings at the end of 2009 to really make us feel ancient. McIlroy’s the only one who's still atop the leaderboard after all this time.

byu/basic_cinephile from discussion

Though the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic will always hold the distinction of being McIlroy's first professional win, he has won the event three times since. It goes to show that while the rest of us have aged and slowed, Rory remains at the top of his game. The man’s only 34. That’s a spring chicken in the golf world.