Rory McIlroy (pictured) may not be an original choice for our Player in Focus this week but he has so much in his favour for the BMW Masters that he cannot be ignored.
McIlroy now has a great opportunity to emulate Luke Donald and win the Race to Dubai and US Money List in the same season. Donald became the first player to win both titles in the same season a year ago and McIlroy now is set to do something similar
The Irish player has a lead of more than £500,000 over Justin Rose in second place. That player will have to win this week’s tournament to have any chance of overhauling his Ryder Cup team-mate Rose is up to a career high of five in the world after a consistent season on both sides of the Atlantic.
Rose finished second behind Brandt Snedeker in the Tour Championship and that is excellent form in the context of this week’s tournament in China. If he were to win this week McIlroy would have to finish 20th or better to maintain his lead in the rankings.
McIlroy has won three regular tournaments in the States this year, including two FedEx Cup play-off events. He also won the US PGA Championship which means he is a multiple major champion still at the age of 23.
He has now won the US Open and PGA Championship. McIlroy will consistently win majors over the course of his career. Jack Nicklaus’s tally of 18 may be beyond him but McIlroy has the talent to win at least ten.
He is destined to win each major at least once. The most difficult to win could be the Open Championship as McIlroy has stated he is not going to change his game to suit links golf conditions that are only encountered once a year.
In winning the PGA Championship McIlroy became the youngest multiple major champion since Severiano Ballesteros in 1980 and the sixth youngest of all time. He is the only European to win four events in one season and the youngest player to reach $10 million in career earnings on the US Tour.
McIlroy is one of just six players in the field who have played competitively at the Lake Malaren course. Its opening last year was marked by the staging of the Shanghai Masters, a non-regular tour event with a limited field of just 30 players.
Our Player in Focus had a decent lead ahead of the final round. He was caught by Anthony Kim before beating that player in a play-off to win a huge cheque for an unofficial event. McIlroy showed a liking for the course and can use that local knowledge to his advantage this week.