Dubai World number one Rory McIlroy says there’s no need to change the format of the European Tour season-ender, despite admitting it’s an anticlimax that he wrapped up the Race to Dubai three events from the end.
McIlroy, 23, won the Race to Dubai crown after finishing third in Singapore last week, taking the shine off this weekend’s DP World Tour Championship, where the season’s overall winner has been decided annually at Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth Course since 2009. Some have called for the introduction of a USPGA styled FedEx Cup play-off system to ensure the season continues to run right up until the wire in future, but the World No.1 and double money-list winner wants the European Tour’s ‘showdown’ to stay exactly how it is.
“I think the format is good. You know, it’s a season-long race. That’s the way it is,” said McIlroy, whose picked up $4.7 million from two wins, ten top tens and three missed cuts in 15 European Tour appearances this season.
“Lucky for me, I’ve earned enough money to not make it matter in the last tournament. I guess it is a bit of an anticlimax this week, but as I said I would love to pick up both of those trophies on Sunday,” said McIlroy, suggesting it was all still to play for.
Of the FedEx play-off system, which doesn’t reward consistency, he said: “I played well during the FedEx Cup playoffs this year on the US PGA Tour and I felt a little hard done by, playing so well and not being able to win that.”
World No.2 and last year’s double money-list winner Luke Donald suggested play-offs were the way to go in avoiding the crowning of a champion before a season had actually ended. He said: “Certainly this week is a little bit of an anticlimax than probably the European Tour would want. That’s obviously a by-product of having a money-list. That’s going to happen sometimes.
“The European Tour may want to think about adding a scenario where that doesn’t happen and incorporate either a play-off system or some other way to make sure that it does go down to the wire. I think that makes it more exciting.”
Donald added: “I remember last year when I played, I felt like I had a target on my back; that this was quite a lot of pressure on my shoulders and you know, I think it reflected within the tournament. It kind of had some more story lines and certainly it’s something the European Tour should at least consider.”
George O’Grady, European Tour CEO, admitted some small tweaks may be necessary: “With the size of the prize fund this week it was very hard to see this [what Rory achieved] happening. But he has had a phenomenal year. It’s easier to understand this [the European Tour format] than the FedEx system in America where you all start level [the money-list resets] and I won’t immediately be giving into panic measures.
“We’ll announce on Sunday how we do next season and there will be a more limited field at the end of the year in Turkey and China with greater incentives. But the basic concept of a money-list race will remain the same.”