Rory McIlroy makes honest admission over Dubai prep with DP World Tour title already won

Rory McIlroy won the Race to Dubai crown early without having to take to compete last Sunday, but the Northern Irishman admitted to not being at his best at this week’s DP World Tour Championship

Rory McIlroy has admitted he arrived at this week’s DP World Tour Championship unprepared, having already got his hands on a fifth Race to Dubai title a week early.

Last week, McIlroy achieved his second consecutive year of receiving the DP World Tour’s Order of Merit without having to do anything. At last week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge, the Northern Irishman’s closest rivals were unable to catch up to him, guaranteeing the title a week before the season finale.

McIlroy, who was already a champion going into Dubai, had a slow start at the Earth Course, trailing 36-hole leader and Ryder Cup colleague Nicolai Hojgaard by 10 shots after opening rounds 71 and 72.

McIlroy, whose hopes of finishing the campaign with a victory had faded, finally got going on Saturday. With 18 holes remaining, he shot an incredible seven-under 65 in the third round, moving him inside the top 20. The four-time major winner began his comeback by attributing his lackluster start to inadequate preparation before the week.

I haven’t really done anything since the Ryder Cup. I tried to practice a little bit over the last few weeks, you know,” he remarked. However, a few weeks ago, I also kind of jammed my wrist, which also somewhat restricted the number of balls I could hit.

Yes, I just kind of walked in not as prepared as I should have been or could have been, but after a few days, I feel like I’m beginning to regain my footing. Following a flawless third round on Saturday morning, the 34-year-old McIlroy birdied seven of his 18 holes.

The former Open champion acknowledged that it was not precisely how he intended to defend his title, even though he was traveling to Dubai with the luxury of having the season-long championship already decided. Prior to the tournament, he declared, “I probably would have liked to have done it another way.”

“But I’ve played well since returning to the European Tour this year, winning two Rolex Series Events and placing highly in other point-paying events. Look, it’s really nice to see my name on the Harry Vardon Trophy for the fifth time, only one point behind [Colin Montgomerie] and still a few behind Seve.”

“But to be up there with the greats of the European game, well, to be honest, I wouldn’t have believed anyone who told 18-year-old Rory in 2007 when I was making my professional debut that I would have won five Order of Merits by now.”

McIlroy has only participated in nine Race to Dubai events en route to winning another championship, and while his schedule is dominated by events on the PGA Tour, his triumphs on the Wentworth circuit are unquestionably still just as significant. He went on, “I definitely don’t take it for granted.”

You know, even though I think I’ve had a good year—I don’t think I’ve had a great year—I can still go ahead and accomplish things like this, which is a testament to the consistency with which I’ve played over the last few years.”

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