European Tour

McIlroy aims to end in style

Rory McIlroy (AFP)
Rory McIlroy (AFP)

Dubai - Already assured of the Race to Dubai crown, Rory McIlroy has now set his sights on the other trophy - the $8 million DP World Tour Championship title - to end his fantastic season on a high.

The world number one Northern Irishman won two majors (the British Open and the US PGA Championship), a World Golf Championship title (WGC-Bridgestone) and the flagship event of the European Tour (BMW PGA Championship) to comfortably end the year as European number one without even having to tee up in Shanghai and Turkey.

With modified points on offer in the Final Series - the last four events of the European Tour schedule - McIlroy now leads second placed Henrik Stenson, winner of both the tournament and the Race to Dubai last year - by 2 726 514 points.

With just 1 666 600 points on offer to the winner this week, no one can deny McIlroy the honour of becoming Europe's number one for the second time in three years.

"I'm very proud to have won the Race to Dubai again, and not having to do anything this week I guess is an added bonus," said the 25-year-old McIlroy.

"But at the same time it would be nice to pick up two trophies on Sunday and not just one. I'm still very motivated to go out there this week and perform well.

"It would be nice to cap off the season with another win here and I feel like I'm probably a little fresher than most of the guys as well.

"I think there are a few jaded minds and bodies getting off that plane from Turkey the other night. Hopefully, I can use that to my advantage and put in a good performance this week."

McIlroy pulled out of the two Shanghai tournaments to concentrate on his upcoming court case against his former management company, but said he has been practicing in Dubai the last 10 days and also has developed the ability to compartmentalize what's happening with his life off the golf course and on it.

"The last week or so, I really put my head down and focused on my golf and everything like that. So that's been great. I've actually felt like I've had a really good little bit of preparation coming into this event.

"I feel good with my game and hopefully I've done enough work to be ready for Thursday," said McIlroy.

"I've got used to it (off-course distractions). I'm better at compartmentalising between stuff that's happening off the course and then being able to focus on what's going on the course."

McIlroy also dismissed the notion that he won the Race to Dubai crown sitting on the couch.

"It is what it is. When one of the three guys last week didn't win, I'm reading things like: 'Rory just won the Race to Dubai sitting on the couch this weekend'.

"You've got to remember the first ten months of the season where I actually did play and I played very well," he added.

"It basically is the money list title and I've done enough throughout the middle part of the season to not be able to be caught with one event to spare.

"So whether they look (to change the system) at it again, that's completely up to the European Tour.

"Either way works for me, whether they want to go more FedExCup style or whether they want to keep it like this. As long as I am hopefully in the mix at the end of every season, I'll be happy enough."

The season-ending championship at the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates for the top-60 players on the Race to Dubai starts Thursday.

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