McIlroy expecting to deliver on FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai double

Ronan MacNamara

Rory McIlroy with the Race to Dubai trophy (Getty Images)

It’s the end of a turbulent year for the DP World Tour and I’m sure Keith Pelley will breathe a sigh of relief when the final putt is sunk on Sunday but the season looks set for a dramatic conclusion with the Race to Dubai up for grabs at the DP World Tour Championship at the Earth Course in Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry are the Irish interest in a field that includes eight of the top-30 players in the Official World Golf Ranking. 

Race to Dubai leader McIlroy is aiming for a fourth Race to Dubai title as he looks to become just the second player to win the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in the same year. 

McIlroy has had a fantastic year, ascending to world number one for the first time in two years while he also picked up wins at the, RBC Canadian Open Tour Championship and CJ Cup.  

With top-4 finishes in each of his last five starts including two wins – McIlroy expects to play well this week. 

“This is my last event of the season. The way I’ve played throughout the year, I’ve been so consistent, especially the last six or seven months post-Augusta. 

“I feel like my game is in good shape. I would be slightly disappointed if I walked away from here knowing I didn’t play as well as I can, and I know if I do play like that, I’ll give myself a good chance. 

“A golf course like this plays right into my strengths, four par-fives. So par-72s are usually golf courses that I excel on because of the four par-fives and because I’m able to play the par-fives quite well because of my length.” 

Reflecting on his 2022 season to date before he puts the clubs away until the New Year the Holywood native is excited about what’s to come having been pleasantly surprised by his improvements in the short game department. 

The four-time major winner ranked 16th on the PGA Tour for strokes gained putting an improvement from 122nd in 2020 while he has led in strokes gained from 50-125 yards since the Wells Fargo Championship. 

“I didn’t win one of the big four but second at Augusta, third at The Open, fifth at the U.S. Open and eighth at the PGA, it’s been very consistent. 

“I’ve said this year felt very similar to 2019, very similar numbers in terms of strokes gained. 

“If anything, I was a little better this year stats-wise. Better around the greens. Definitely putted better. It’s the first time I ever finished in the top 20 in putting on the PGA TOUR this year. 

“So it’s really nice at this stage of my career, 15 years in, I’m still finding ways to improve. That’s a really positive thing going forward. 

“It’s been a great year and I’m excited to see where I go from here because as I said, those improvements 15 years into a career is something that excites me.” 

McIlroy is bidding to emulate Henrik Stenson (2013) in ruling on both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour with New Zealand’s Ryan Fox his closest challenger having won twice this season and he was full of praise for the big hitting Kiwi. 

“I mean, he’s had an amazing season. I saw, I think yesterday, went from 217th in the world up to 23rd in the world. That’s an amazing climb. You have to play great golf and you have to play consistently great golf over a decent period of time to get that high. And he’s done that playing golf tournaments that don’t necessarily provide as high of World Ranking points as some others, so I think he’s done a phenomenal job this year. Obviously he’s played well last week. Won the Dunhill. 

“Yeah, he’s had an amazing season. It’s great to see. I don’t know him well but he seems like a lovely guy, and I’m looking forward to playing with him on Thursday.” 

Rory was also asked to weigh in on Greg Norman’s recent comments that players like him and Tiger Woods should be thankful for the money being pumped into the game of golf but McIlroy insisted it’s titles and accolades that motivate him, rather than lining his pockets. 

“The game of golf is, I would say in a less certain place than it was 12 months ago. No one really knows what’s going to happen going forward. 

“In terms of I guess anything that Greg says, but that comment, it depends what you’re looking for out of golf. Am I thankful that it’s provided more opportunities for the top players to earn more? Yes. But ultimately will that make me happier at the end of my career? No. 

“There’s a lot of things that people play golf for and do their jobs for, and it’s not just about money. It’s about other things. It’s about fulfillment. It’s about trying to get the best out of yourself. It’s about the satisfaction of turning up and sort of trying to play to your potential. You know, those are the things that certainly made me the happiest about playing golf. So to some people, they might play for other reasons. But for me, I’m happiest when I’m playing my best and doesn’t matter how much I’m going to make. But at the same time, it’s the sporting achievements that are the things that get me going.” 

Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.