BOne man is the focus of the final tournament of the DP World Tour from Thursday to Sunday: Rory McIlroy. The 33-year-old world number one can do something at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai that Sweden’s Henrik Stenson had only been able to do in 2013: in one year, the season rankings of the two largest established golf tournament series in the world, the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour, namely the DP World Ranking (DPWR, formerly Race to Dubai) and the FedExCup.
After three victories in 2016, 2019 and 2022 in the FedExCup, the golf star from Northern Ireland could also be crowned best on the former European Tour for the fourth time after 2012, 2014 and 2015 and be honored with the Vardon Trophy.
Waiver of “Personal Obligations”
“To win both the DP World Tour rankings and the FedEx Cup in the same season would be a great achievement and cap a memorable year on the golf course,” said the Northern Irishman, pointing out that he has always enjoyed success in Dubai : “I have some great memories of Dubai, from my first cut on the tour as an amateur, to winning my first DP World Tour title, to finishing first in the rankings three times.” More: that too final tournament The crowd favorite has already won twice (2012 and 2015) on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
However, he prefers not to talk about how bitter it was for him at this tournament last year. He lost his lead spectacularly with three bogeys on the last four holes, only ended up in sixth place and tore his shirt in anger. Victory went to Colin Morikawa, who won both the tournament and the DPWR. The American, who has yet to win this year, will not take part this time because of “personal commitments”.
But that’s not the only reason why McIlroy is the top favorite again, especially since he won his last tournament on the PGA Tour in October and thus rose back to the top of the world rankings. “Rors”, as his colleagues call him, will play in the last group of the first round together with Ryan Fox from New Zealand on Thursday.
The son of All Blacks rugby legend Grant Fox lost victory at the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City (South Africa) last Sunday with a bogey on the last hole, which went to Englishman Tommy Fleetwood. Still, the 35-year-old “Kiwi” moved very close to the leader McIlroy in the rankings, but couldn’t oust him from the leading position – despite triumphing twice and more in his 23 appearances on the DP World Tour this season finished second four times.
Battle for number one
McIlroy, who like all top Europeans mainly plays on the PGA Tour, was always able to finish at the top of only five appearances on his home tour, but did not record a win. But since the results of the four majors are counted for both tours, McIlory’s top ten results at these traditional tournaments, including second place at the Masters and third place at the British Open, ranged with more than five million euros in prize money and 4154.1 Points just ahead of Ryan (4054) to go into the end of the season.
The fight for number one on the European Tour, which is rewarded with the Vardon Trophy, also has Matt Fitzpatrick in its sights. The 28-year-old Englishman, who won his first major this year with the US Open, is in third place and could move up to the top with a win, a success for which there is three million dollars in prize money (around 2.9 million euros). and another one million (960,000 euros) for winning the DPWR.
Fitzpatrick lies the Earth Course. He has already won here in 2016 and 2020. Last year, the ninth in the world rankings shared second place at this tournament. But in the fight for victory in the 10.15 million dollars (around 9.7 million euros) with the highest prize of the 46 tournaments in 23 countries on the DP World Tour, the three are probably not alone.
Because with the Spaniard Jon Rahm (fifth in the world rankings), who won this tournament in 2017 and 2019, the Norwegian Viktor Hovland (eleventh), the Irishman Shane Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood, all European top stars are at the start of the season finale of the fifty best of the season.
For the first time in the 14-year history of this final in Dubai, four German professionals belong to the select circle of the top fifty. Yannik Paul (19th), Hurly Long from Viernheim (24th) and Marcel Schneider (46th) managed the feat of qualifying for the final in their very first season. Maximilian Kieffer, on the other hand, is playing on the Earth Course for the third time, but has never finished higher than 44th.
With Kieffer (Czech Masters) and Paul (Mallorca Open), there were two German victories on the former European Tour for the first time since 2014, another indication that German golf is on the up, even if Martin Kaymer is now fully focused on the controversial one Saudi tour LIV Golf has withdrawn.