Rory McIlroy Sets his Sights on Topping the European Money List as the Race to Dubai hot’s up

With Rory McIlroy having firmly cemented his place as the top earner of the US PGA Tour, the Irishman will surely now have his eyes set on topping the Race to Dubai which is to take place this November.

If McIlroy does in fact achieve this, he will be only the second golfer in the history of golf to do so after last year, Luke Donald broke the record; earning $6,683,214 in the PGA Tour and €5,323,400 on the European Tour.

Although the current world number three did find himself in poll position in 2011, Donald is currently in 13th position in the PGA Tour and 11th place in the European tour.

Currently first in the overall rankings, Rory McIlroy has won a total of four tournaments this season, taking an accumulation of $8,047,952 in winnings; quite a sum for any 23 year old.

Though a double topping of the tour takings shall certainly be a record in terms of age, it is not the first record in which the young Northern Irishman will have achieved as in 2011 (aged 22), he became the youngest player ever to reach the €10 million career earnings mark.

If that wasn’t enough however, earlier this year he also became the youngest ever player to reach the $10 million in career earnings whilst competing in the PGA Tour.

Despite all the victories and too the failures (having missed the cut three times this season), Rory has stated recently that he shall be competing in fewer tournaments in the 2013 season.

According to ESPN, the current world number one has stated that next year shall contain fewer events for him after totaling around 26 that has been scheduled in for this year. So far, McIlroy has played a total of 21 of those, with five more to go.

“I would just love to cut my schedule back even further and I think next year I will cut it down again to a max play of 22 or 23,” McIlroy continued.

“I still have got some big events left and I would love to win the Race to Dubai and repeat what Luke Donald did also winning the money list on the PGA Tour, so I am going to give it one last push.

“It has been a great season and I am ready to be done. It is just such a long season these days. But then I feel I have got an obligation to play some of these big events leading up to Dubai.”

Rory however, isn’t the only contender to top the European earnings this season however as legendary golfer, Tiger Woods is quickly on his tail with the 36 year-old being found in second place in the current world rankings.

After some amazing play this season, Tiger Woods has accumulated a total of three victories including a third place finish on the Deutsche Bank Tournament in Auguest.

Added to this is the fact that Woods this year became the first ever golfer to surpass the $100 million career earning mark after finishing in that very tournament.

With the winter firmly approaching, golfers all over the Northern hemisphere are preparing for some wintery conditions, wrapping up warm with hats, under armour and waterproof golf shoes at Direct Golf; it’s just a shame that Rory won’t have time to enjoy the cold weather however as he finds himself playing in China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai in the next two months.

Luke Donald becomes the first golfer to win US PGA & the European PGA Tour Money List

Yesterday Luke Donald became the first golfer to officially win the US PGA & the European PGA Tour Money List in the same season.

Donald added the European Order Of Merit, or Race to Dubai as it has become known, by finishing third in the Dubai World Championship yesterday.  The only player that was able to stop him was Rory McIlroy.  But he failed to win the event and finished 10 strokes off the lead following a poor final round. The event was won by Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, by two shots with an excellent 19 under.

The US PGA & the European PGA Tour Money List awards are given to the player who wins the most prize money over the course of a season. At his peak, Tiger Woods managed this feat in unofficially by winning European tour titles on an invitational capacity.

But for Luke Donald to achieve this twin award officially means he had to agree to play a minimum of 13 tournaments on the European tour and no less than 15 tournaments on the US PGA.

This massive achievement comes at the end of a great year for Luke Donald who, for the first time in his career was ranked world number 1. But without wishing to take the shine off what is truly a great achievement, I find it a little bit at odds that the number 1 ranked golf player and the winner of both the US PGA Money List & European Order Of Merit goes to someone who didn’t win a single Major in 2011.

There’s no doubting Luke Donald is one of the best golfers in the world right now.  But I want a number 1 ranked player to be the best in the world, someone who wins, a true champion, like Tiger Woods was in his prime.  Not a ‘steady Eddie’ who hardly ever three-putts.

While many pundits are still suggesting Rory McIlroy is the next Tiger Woods, It is Luke Donald that will celebrate Christmas after winning £4.19m in the US and £3,632,685 on the European Tour this year.

Rory McIlroy wins the Hong Kong Open

Rory McIlroy wins the Hong Kong Open to keep alive his contest with Luke Donald at the top of the European Tour‘s Race to Dubai.

Rory McIlroy made an impressive comeback in the fourth and final round to win the Hong Kong Open today and with it keeps the pressure on Englishman Luke Donald for the coveted European Tour’s Race to Dubai championship.

Rory McIlroy won with a final round of 65 by two strokes with a 5 under score.  The 22 year old from Northern Ireland was delighted to seal the victory and told reporters:

“It is very special to win this. No matter how prestigious tournaments are, this is one of my favourites and I’m really happy to win it,” he said. “To be able to win a golf tournament when you are not at your best is something. Tiger Woods did this all the time. This is a great win, to come from behind and to be able to draw level and then close it out.”

There has been much pressure on the young Irishman’s shoulders since he turned professional in 2007 and eventually won his first major – the US Open – earlier this year.

McIlroy beat off challenges from France’s Gregory Havret who finished second, two strokes behind, and Sweden’s Peter Hanson on 9 under. Ian Poulter was looking to retain the title he won in 2010 and shot a good final round to finish joint fourth on 8 under with Scotland’s Richie Ramsay and Thailand’s Pariya Junhasavasdikul.

After failing to win the Hong Kong Open, Ian Poulter told reporters:

“It’s disappointing obviously. I came to defend and I’ve come up shy. I thought I had a chance when I got to 9 under, but I just flushed it on the 15th. It was a costly bogey at the wrong time,”

Last week Lee Westwood announced that he would be joining the US PGA Tour next year which I assume is to give him a better chance to win either the US Open or The Masters.  By doing so Westwood may forfeit the chance to win the Race to Dubai, based on the highest prize money on the European Tour in a given season, but the US is where the big money is.

If like Lee Westwood you are looking to win your share of prize money then why not check out the golf betting competition at BettingExperts.

They are offering a massive a £5,000 in a free to enter competition.  The competition covers all golf tips for major, minor tournaments including PGA and European Tour during the competition date. The top ten golf tipsters with the highest profit (measured in units) on golf shares the prize pool, which will be paid in free bets & prize giveaways. Tipster with the most overall gets the first prize.

Lee Westwood, Europes number one golfer

lee westwood top european player
lee westwood top european player

Lee Westwood claimed victory in the Dubai World Championship on Sunday, hitting a stunning course record 64, to finish 23 under par and win the tournament by six shots from Ross McGowan.

The prize money for winning the Championship, around £740,000, means that Westwood clinches the Race to Dubai Order of Merit title ahead of Rory McIlroy.

The twenty year old Irishman McIlroy will be disapointed having led the Race to Dubai ahead of the tournament by £114,000 from Westwood, but concedes that Westwood’s form in Dubai deserved the win, he said;

“Leading coming in to this week and then finishing third, most times that would have been enough, but Lee was different class and he deserves it,” said McIlroy. He’s been through the highs and the lows. He’s number five in the world and he will climb higher after this. He’s got his reward for the golf he’s played over the last two years.

I knew there was no chance. I was just trying to play for second place. I gave it my best shot. It’s been a great season and I have no complaints. I could have been happier with how it ended, but it’s been a great stepping stone and I’m looking forward to next year (on the US tour).”

Westwood had indeed played some of the finest golf of his career in Dubai, something that he himself acknowledged when he said after claiming the title;

“I’m a bit speechless. I played fantastic at the weekend. I played well at the start of the week, but 66 and 64 will take some catching,” said Westwood. It’s as good as I’ve ever played, especially under this pressure. It gives me so much confidence and it’s definitely the biggest moment of my career.

Every credit to Rory, to be leading the Order of Merit and then finish third you would expect to win, so commiserations to him.”

Westwood added that ending the season as Europe’s number one was more satisfying second time around, claiming that in 2000 when he reached the same position he was too young to appreciate it as his career up until then had only known highs.

When he adds, “Then I went through a low that was well documented and it has been a long way back. This is the best day of my career,”, you know he really does mean it.

A great time to start thinking about a winter ski holiday, a great way to part with some of those winnings!

Phil Mickelson wins HSBC Champions Tournament

phil mickelson
phil mickelson

Phil Mickelson won the HSBC Champions Tournament in Shanghai by one shot to become the first player to win the tournament twice, his first win was in 2007, and also to end what has been a distracting year for the American, having taken time out to care for both his wife and mother who were both diagnosed with cancer during the year.

South African Ernie Els mounted pressure on Mickelson by hitting a stupendous round of nine under par 63, claiming a course record, but he was unable to unseat the leader and was left to ponder what might have been when he hit his only bogey of the day on the 18th after hitting his approach shot into the water in front of the green.

Tiger Woods had a less than impressive final day ending five shots behind the leader and one behind fifth placed Nick Watney, who had shared the lead at the half way stage.

Ryan Moore finished the tournament in third place, followed by Rory McIlroy in fourth, finishing on 14 under par and boosting his Race to Dubai bid and equalling the course record of 63 in the process.

Phil Mickelson said after the win;

“It feels terrific. It’s my last event of the year and to finish the year like this is just wonderful. Ernie and Rory McIlroy played one of the greatest rounds and I was fortunate to come out on top. It feels good because I had to fight very hard.”