I imagine it’s quite hard to come up with a system that will ensure the Race To Dubai isn’t all wrapped up before the top 60 arrive at the Jumeirah Golf Estates each November. This season the European Tour created its new ‘Final Series’ to try and make sure the season-finale has a fair amount of drama attached to it. Four big money events culminating in the DP World Tour Championship Dubai where only the strongest will survive. Now normally that would have happened. Normally at least 4 or 5 stars could be in with a shot of banking one of the biggest cheques in the sport on a Sunday in Dubai.
But, Rory McIlroy isn’t normal.
The World Number 1 is the undisputed king of the course in 2014. Two Majors, a WGC, the BMW PGA Championship and an unstoppable final day at the Ryder Cup have led him to a Race to Dubai standings lead of over three million Euros. The Northern Irishman has now even pulled out of two ‘Final Series’ events to concentrate on his legal issues. But it would be a brave pundit who said he won’t be posing for the photos as the other players drift back to their hotels come the early evening of the 23rd of November 2014.
I remember standing in the press pen at the end of the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic as a young lad with curly hair growing wildly out the side of his hat, spoke emotionally about what his first professional win meant to him. Even then it wasn’t a surprise to see Rory Mcilroy with a trophy.
As the Tiger Woods era inevitably comes to its natural end, be in no doubt we are now well and truly in the Rory era. Health and fitness permitting, he is the marquee name for a long time to come. He is now the one everyone wants to test themselves against on a Sunday coming down the stretch. He is now the one who will turn a one shot lead at the 9th tee into a comfortable victory on the 18th green. Rory McIlroy is no longer the future of golf. He is golf now.
I really enjoy watching many of his peers right now. Rickie Fowler is box office but the wins just haven’t started coming. Patrick Reed isn’t the Top 5 player he predicted he would be but his passion for the Ryder Cup has won me over. Matteo Manassero hasn’t had the season I thought he might, but he has the talent to pick up a Major or two.
However, a certain 25 year old from Holywood is playing a different game from them. The European Tour may well try and ‘Rory-Proof’ the next Race To Dubai further but I suggest we just enjoy it. Before we know it, he will be consigned to the ‘getting too old for it’ editorials and a new name will be the focus. So, sit back or stand behind the ropes and marvel at his talent. Be annoyed you can’t do it yourself for sure, but I guarantee the guys he’s playing with inside the ropes are thinking the same thing.