- World rankings
Donald: Echoes of Tiger in Rory's Dubai victory
McIlroy produced five birdies in his final five holes to wrap up victory at the European Tour's season finale in Dubai, overhauling Justin Rose's clubhouse lead to win by two strokes.
Rose, who shot a course-record 62 on Sunday, was magnanimous in defeat. "I thought I had him, but he's class," admitted the Englishman.
Donald, who faded for a share of third with Charl Schwartzel, went even further. "That was like Tiger Woods in his prime," said the world No. 2. "To able to do that when needed, that is the sign of a great.
"It was extremely impressive and it shows us all how hard we will have to work to stay up with him."
Victory wrapped up McIlroy's fifth title of the season, including his second major at the US PGA Championship, as the Northern Irishman matched Donald's 2011 feat of topping both the European and PGA Tour money lists to move clear at the top of the rankings.
"I wanted to finish this season the way I believed it deserved to be finished," McIlroy said. "It means a lot for me to finish in this fashion. Justin gave me the opportunity to do what I did."
Rose could take some consolation in the knowledge that second place moved him up to No. 4 in the world, above fellow Englishman Lee Westwood, and ended his season with what his caddie, Mark Fulcher, called "the best round I'd ever seen in my life".
World rankings: 1. Rory McIlroy (NIR), 2. Luke Donald (ENG), 3. Tiger Woods (USA), 4. Justin Rose (ENG), 5. Adam Scott (AUS), 6. Lee Westwood (ENG), 7. Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), 8. Jason Dufner (USA), 9. Webb Simpson (USA), 10. Brandt Snedeker (USA), 11. Bubba Watson (USA), 12. Ian Poulter (ENG), 13. Phil Mickelson (USA), 14. Steve Stricker (USA), 15. Keegan Bradley (USA), 16. Nick Watney (USA), 17. Peter Hanson (SWE), 18. Matt Kuchar (USA), 19. Dustin Johnson (USA), 20. Ernie Els (RSA)