No Race to Dubai win, but lots for Rory McIlroy to play for in Dubai
Last Updated: 19/11/19 8:32am
Rob Lee assesses Rory McIlroy's hopes of ending the European Tour season with a win and looks at the players chasing Bernd Wiesberger for Race to Dubai victory.
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These top players look at their schedules and they have to find times for rest, so this was always going to be McIlroy's plan over the last few weeks of the season. If it had worked out and he arrived in Dubai with a chance to win the whole thing, then so be it, but it wasn't to be.
McIlroy wasn't really in the running for the Race to Dubai until he won the WGC-HSBC Champions. He knew he wasn't going to play these weeks and he knew he needed a favour from Wiesberger and everyone else if he was to have a chance of winning the whole thing.
If winning the Race to Dubai was a priority of his then he could have gone to Turkey or gone to South Africa, but that's not how he set himself up. McIlroy may not be able to win the Race to Dubai, but there's still a tournament to be won and a $3m cheque to play for.
This week could go a long way in closing the gap between him and Brooks Koepka for the world No 1 spot, which he desperately wants back, so he will know a win would put him back on the cusp of overtaking him.
He loves the golf course in Dubai and has won there a couple of times, so it suits him down to the ground. McIlroy won in Shanghai, has had a couple of weeks to practice and recharge the batteries, so for the tournament itself I think he will be the guy to beat.
Being the guy that's leading the Race to Dubai and everybody is trying to catch is never easy, as Bernd Wiesberger has found out with a couple of poor weeks before finishing strongly in Sun City.
There's 2,000 points on offer this week in Dubai, meaning the four players below him the standings are still in the running, but everything will depend on Wiesberger's performance.
If Wiesberger has a really good tournament then he makes it so much harder for everybody else to win the Race to Dubai, but if he doesn't then Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick will all be thinking they have a chance of becoming European No 1.
It's a long time for a player as good as Fleetwood not to have a victory, so it was great to see him win the Nedbank on Sunday. We know from his consistency he's been an amazing player week in, week out, but he hasn't had that win until now.
For him to win in that fashion, shooting 65 on the final day and making three eagles in the final round was incredible. He needed that badly and it's a big for him to head to the DP World Tour Championship this week with a chance to win everything again.
Watch the DP World Tour Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf. Live coverage begins on Wednesday with the On the Range show, live from 11am on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event.