Bullish Rory McIlroy vows he won’t ease off for rest of season
Published 12/11/2012 | 09:56
ANYBODY believing Rory McIlroy might ease off now he has won the European and US Tour money lists this season had better think again.
The 23-year-old world number one this week moves on to Hong Kong from the Singapore Open, where a closing 30-foot eagle putt for third place yesterday made him the youngest Order of Merit winner since Sandy Lyle in 1980.
"I've still got two events remaining this year and the goal is still to try and win at least once more before the end of the year," said McIlroy, who emulated Luke Donald's double last season when Louis Oosthuizen lost a play-off to Italian teenager Matteo Manassero.
"I've got a healthy lead in the world rankings, but with so many very good players on both sides of the Atlantic it will not be a time to be resting on my laurels.
"Monty (Colin Montgomerie) won eight Order of Merits in his prime and I have won one, so there is plenty of ground to make up.
"Also Jack Nicklaus won 18 majors and I now have my name on two, so targeting the majors will still be my main focus next season."
The "Race to Dubai" would not have been settled if Oosthuizen had won this weekend, but after missing from under five feet at the second extra hole he stood and watched 19-year-old Manassero achieve a third Tour victory with a 12-foot eagle putt on the next.
McIlroy, the defending champion this week, added: "It really is hugely satisfying to finally become the European number one, especially after finishing second two of the last three years.
"It has always been one of my goals ever since securing my Tour card five years ago, but then to also end the year as both European and PGA Tour number one is just amazing.
"I feel so proud and humbled to join so many fabulous names in Europe who have won the Order of Merit.
"To be able to accomplish this goal with still two events remaining means that I can head to my UBS Hong Kong Open defence and the DP World Championship Dubai without that added pressure and just really enjoy my golf.
"Winning a second major championship (the USPGA in August by eight shots just like his US Open triumph last season) already made it a fabulous season, but then to follow Luke Donald in becoming number one in both Europe and the States is the icing on the cake after a fabulous season.
"I set myself a number of ambitious goals at the start of the year and to have ticked so many of the boxes feels great.
"A lot of hard work went into this and I am really proud of what I've achieved in 2012.
"I would like to give special thanks to the team around me for all the support they have given me throughout the year."
His earnings this year stand at just under £3million in Europe and he won the PGA Tour money list - seven of the events overlap - with more than £5million.
But those figures look peanuts against the £156million 10-year deal he is rumoured to have signed in a switch from Titleist to Nike yet to be formally announced.