The last time the DP World Tour found itself in Dubai, in November's Tour Championship, Steve Rawlings' headline used the word "meek" to describe Rory McIlroy's final round performance and last week's effort in the Dubai Desert Classic was nothing more or less than a sad repeat of that effort.
On both occasions he was overhauled by a youngster flying home on a wet sail - in Jumeirah by Collin Morikawa, on the Majlis Course at the Emirates GC by Viktor Hovland - but whilst on the first occasion the Northern Irishman's defeat was triggered by appalling luck (a fine approach shot ricocheted cruelly off the pin), on Sunday he was entirely the victim of two poor shot executions.
The Northern Irishman's week had started quietly, with a 71, but the 66-69 which followed had him hot on the heels of the pace-setter Justin Harding and all seemed set fair for a Sunday lap of honour as he sought to land a third victory in the tournament and justify the decision of those who had backed him pre-tournament at a general 9.08/1.
But if we've learned anything about McIlroy down the years it's that he can make the simple look very difficult (and the difficult looks absurdly easy). He started the final round the favourite at 3.412/5, yet made bogey at the first and initially struggled to respond.
Whereupon he made birdies at six and seven. Game on and he was trading odds-on too. Then: wack, wack, oops as he made a bogey-6 at the 10th (a good one at that) and jumped to 4.03/1. But two birdies in the next three holes seemed to have righted the ship and he was now back trading odds-on.
While all this was happening the 36 and 54 hole leader Harding had stalled, matching McIlroy's bogey at the first, adding nine pars and then he stumbled irrevocably with a triple bogey-6 at the 11th. Backed at a high of 270.0269/1 and easily available at three figures pre-event, he was eventually matched as low as 2.6613/8 but his race was run.
Earlier in the week Tyrrell Hatton had been the 36 hole favourite, lying second at the time, and he was matched as low as 2.3211/8 having been a pre-start 20.019/1 shot, but he couldn't recover from a Saturday muddle.
The key threat to McIlroy came from Norway's Viktor Hovland, who had ticked along all week without too much drama before finishing regulation play with a birdie-eagle-birdie run that set a target of 12-under, the exact total McIlroy was on at that stage, stood on the 15th tee.
He parred 15 and 16, and with the vulnerable 17 and 18 to come had a golden opportunity in his hands. He took aim at the green of the short par-4, was woefully wide, found nasty scrub, and suddenly Hovland was 1.528/15 in the clubhouse before the situation flipped as the four-time major champion rescued par.
Birdie at the last would still secure victory, by now over Richard Bland as well, who had tied Hovland. But McIlroy's second blow found water and, as he stood over a 12-foot par putt to join the play-off, the odds read: McIlroy 6.05/1, Hovland 1.9110/11, Bland 3.052/1.
The putt didn't drop. McIlroy had been backed at 1.392/5, stinging fingers. In the one extra hole Bland was never favoured (2.3211/8) and Hovland, whose price touched 95.094/1 took the title.
Luke farms the strike
Meanwhile, over in San Diego at the Farmers Insurance Open, there was a tipsy Torrey Pines tale. Rahms and List, if you will.
The World No. 1 Jon Rahm had got his week off to a bold start, leading the scoring on the tougher South Course with a 66 to contract from a pre-tournament high of 9.89/1 to 3.45.
The actual first round leader was Billy Horschel who carded a 63 on the North Course, but the market didn't lose its head, trusting the steady weather forecast and knowledge that the leaderboard would even out after 36 holes. Backed at 150.0149/1 earlier in the week he was now 17.016/1.
By halfway Adam Schenk had thrashed eight consecutive birdies to join Rahm (now 2.47/5) and Justin Thomas (3.9) on 13-under 131 at the top of the leaderbard. The unfancied Schenk would be laid at a low of 21.020/1 after trading as high as 790.0789/1 before the off - he slipped back at the weekend.
A poor third round saw Rahm inflate to 3.814/5, with new leaders Will Zalatoris and Jason Day available at 5.59/2 and 6.86/1 respectively first thing.
In the final round Rahm was briefly 16.5 as he struggled to win on the course for a third time (another case of deja vu) before fighting back to 3.3512/5. Through the week he was backed at a low of 1.910/11.
Day holed out for an eagle-2 as he performed like the good old days and was backed as low as 2.35/4. Zalatoris looked the most likely winner for the majority of the final round and the pre-tournament 40.039/1 shot was backed down to 1.341/3.
But two hours before they all finished Luke List carded a 66 to set a target of 15-under 273. At that stage Zalatoris was 2.245/4 and Rahm 3.9. List could be backed at 7.87/1.
Those who did just that watched on as the pre-round leaders failed to overhaul him. Zalatoris matched his total, but failed to equal List's birdie at the first extra hole.
Ahead of this week, the last three winners had all started their week on the North Course. List broke that pattern - he was even in the first group to hit the South Course on Thursday morning.
Hovland has now claimed three wins in his last five starts (if you count the Hero World Challenge and with such a high quality field why would you not?). Can he do a Danny Willett and Sergio Garcia and use this experience to launch a successful Masters bid?
List will be breathing a sigh of relief. He was a fine amateur, has often impressed on the PGA Tour, lost a play-off at the 2018 Honda Classic, but also sometimes looked frail around the lead.
Owing to his holiday break, Steve made only suggestions last week, but he did pretty nicely with his Dubai thoughts, noting the obvious claims of McIlroy and also the sneakily strong case of Harding who was backed as low as 2.64 having been a general 150.0149/1 pre-event.