Rory McIlroy out to conquer Europe before reclaiming world No1 spot with DP World Tour Championships win

Rory McIlroy out to conquer Europe before reclaiming world No1 spot with DP World Tour Championships win

January 31, 2022

RORY McILROY is out to conquer Europe and the world this week.

Victory at the DP World Tour Championships will see the Northern Irishman retain his Race to Dubai crown as Europe’s top money winner.

But he is also determined to end Jason Day’s nine-month reign at the top of the world rankings, and get back there for the first time since August last year.

McIlroy has slipped to fourth in the Race to Dubai standings behind Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett and Alex Noren — the hottest player on the planet after four wins in his last 11 events.

Even if McIlroy repeats last year’s win in Dubai, he still needs other results to go his way if he is to leapfrog the three men above him.

He has left himself a lot to do after missing the first two events in the big money Final Series, the Turkish Airlines Open and last week’s Nedbank Challenge in South Africa.

But he says he will just concentrate on getting the job done here and see where that leaves him.

A win will earn McIlroy another £920,000 bonus on top of the £1.3million first prize.

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Rory McIlroy is looking to leapfrog four players to become world No1 againCredit: Getty Images

He said: “I still have a lot to play for this week.

"If I can win, I will finish the year as world No 1 so that’s a huge incentive and that would make the Christmas break that much nicer.

“I don’t regret taking the last couple of weeks off. If I hadn’t won the FedEx Cup maybe it would have been different.

“But I have won the Race to Dubai before and hopefully I can win it again.

“Henrik is the favourite this year. This course suits him better than Danny, he hits the ball higher which is always an asset around here.

“But I also know what it’s like to win over the course, so don’t count me out.”

Stenson has won this event twice and, after partnering Noren as he produced a sensational final-round 63 for win No 4 in South Africa, it is no surprise he sees his fellow Swede as his main rival this week.

That round was almost as impressive as the 63 Stenson shot to win The Open at Troon this year, and he knows he may have to hit the same levels to finish top in Europe for the second time.

Stenson said: “What Alex did at the Nedbank was very impressive.

“He rolled in a big slinger at the first and got a good notch on the second, almost made eagle, and he kept on playing solid and making those putts all day.

“He was on fire — no one was really able to touch him and he’s definitely in the mix for the Race to Dubai title this week after that.

“But with Alex playing as well as that it motivates me to bring my game to Dubai and then try to be up there.

“It’s been a great year with my Open win — and finishing as the Race to Dubai champion for the second time would be the perfect way to round it off.”

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