Rory McIlroy (pictured) is the most likely winner of the DP World Tour Championship, but other players may have more incentives to do well in Dubai this week.
The event is the finale of the European Tour and was introduced to determine who would win the Race to Dubai, formerly known as the European Order of Merit. However, McIlroy has already secured that title and thus became just the second player to win most money on both tours in the same year.
Luke Donald was the first to achieve this in 2011, but McIlroy’s efforts are even more impressive. He won the European and US PGA Money lists by more than one million euro and dollars respectively despite playing in fewer events than his nearest rivals.
McIlroy missed the cut at the Hong Kong Open last week, but he can be forgiven one week’s lack of focus in the context of what he has achieved this year. He won three regular tournaments on the US Tour. When he won the PGA Championship in August, he became the youngest multiple major winner since Severiano Ballesteros in 1980 and the sixth youngest of all time.
The Dubai tournament has attracted 57 of the eligible 60 players and winners of 28 events on the European Tour schedule this year. The strength in depth of the field is illustrated by the fact that it includes the winners of 52 European Tour events and there is intrigue associated with many of the competitors.
Branden Grace has won four times this year. Matteo Manassero is the first teenager to win three titles in Europe and Miguel Angel Jimenez became the oldest winner in the history of the European Tour when he won the Hong Kong Open last week.
In theory anyone from the top 34 in the Race to Dubai could make the top 10 by winning this week. Donald is currently eighth and arrives in Dubai having moved back to number two in the world by winning the Dunlop Phoenix on the Tour of Japan.
There is a huge Bonus Pool to play for and we can expect some of the best players in the world to respond to the challenge and figure at the top of the leader board at the weekend.