Wednesday 21 February 2018

McIlroy’s early money-list win has taken all the sizzle out of season, says Luke Donald

Tony Jimenez

LUKE DONALD has urged the European Tour to consider recalibrating the money-list to avoid the sense of anti-climax that will be apparent at this week's season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Nine days ago, Rory McIlroy guaranteed he would end the year in top spot on the European money-list and in doing so, the 23-year-old world number one took much of the gloss off the showcase event in Dubai.

Donald, up to second in the world rankings after his wire-to-wire victory in last week's Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Japan, believes officials need to find a way to ensure there is a blockbuster finish to the season.

"This week is a little bit more of an anti-climax than the European Tour would probably want," he said.

"The tour may want to think about adding a scenario where that doesn't happen and incorporate either a playoff system or some other way to make sure that it goes down to the wire. I think that would make it more exciting."

Donald no doubt had in mind the way the US PGA Tour recalibrate its money-list ahead of the FedExCup to ensure that everything is up for grabs in their season-ending playoff series.

Twelve months ago, Donald finished third in Dubai to become the first player to win the order of merits on both sides of the Atlantic.

"I remember last year I felt like I had a target on my back, that was quite a lot of pressure on my shoulders and I think it reflected within the tournament," the 34-year-old said.

"It had more story lines and certainly it's something the European Tour should at least consider."

Donald hailed US PGA champion McIlroy's achievement in matching his double money-list triumph in 2012.

"There is no doubt in my mind he's had the best year of anyone," the Englishman said. "A lot of people said that winning both money titles wouldn't happen again for a long time and it only took Rory a few months to pull it off.

"It takes a lot to do that. It's very hard when you play both tours because you spread yourself quite thin.

"You have to play well in the right events and Rory has done that. What he's done is an amazing achievement and hats off to him."

McIlroy already has two major victories to his credit, having also won the US Open in 2011, and Donald said his European Ryder Cup team mate could be ready to dominate world golf in the manner of Tiger Woods.

"Rory certainly has that ability to go away from the rest of us," he said. "He has the talent to create a pretty big lead (in the rankings).

"He's a very consistent player, he's one of the best drivers of the golf ball, he hits it long and straight and he's improved his short game a lot this year.

"I'll be working hard to try and make sure he doesn't go away from us. A few of us will be trying to chase him down and that's good for the sport."

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