Rory McIlroy (pictured) is the most likely winner of the Abu Dhabi Championship this week on the European Tour. The world number one has contested this event since being a teenager and has a solid bank of consistent form in his record.
McIlroy is one of the most marketable sportsmen in the world. This week he signed a multi-million dollar contract with Nike to use their equipment for the next five years. Despite his distractions away from the course, the Irish player has delivered where it matters and he is worthy of his current status in the world rankings.
Our Player in Focus is a avid follower of Manchester United, the most famous and successful football club in Britain. He also dates Danish tennis player, Caroline Wozniacki. Some questioned his commitment during certain times last year when he was appearing at tennis tournaments around the world.
However, McIlroy clearly has established the right balance between competitive play, practice and how he spends his time away from the course. His excellence, ability and work ethic cannot be questioned and the financial and personal rewards have duly come his way.
McIlroy has not reached his 24th birthday and he has already won two major championships. That means he is half way to a career Grand Slam and he could complete the set over the next three years. McIlroy has a game suited to Augusta and the Masters and surely he will have at least one good week at the British Open and win that major.
In the context of the Abu Dhabi Championship, McIlroy has a great deal in his favor this week. Betting on golf is hugely popular in Europe and favorite backers will be out in force to support McIlroy with their cash.
McIlroy has made the cut in each of his five appearances in Abu Dhabi. As a teenager he made the top 20 and finished just eight shots behind the winner. No player played better over the weekend in 2008 and that was when McIlroy’s talent first came to the attention of many golf followers.
Another reason to expect McIlroy to contend this week is his skill profile. The host course is above average in length and puts a premium on driving distance and hitting the greens in regulation. McIlroy is the only player in the field who finished inside the top 10 for these disciplines on the European Tour last year and that makes him the player to beat this week.