Rory McIlroy will end the season as European No 1 for a fifth time and be crowned Race to Dubai champion, having also won the Order of Merit in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2022;
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Last Updated: 14/11/23 2:07pm
Rory McIlroy says Europe’s Ryder Cup win over the USA felt like claiming a major, though he bemoaned his runners-up finish at the US Open as he graded his 2023 season.
Team Europe emerged 16.5-11.5 winners over the US at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome just over a month ago, with McIlroy earning a career-best haul of four points from his five matches, following a dismal return of one in the chastening defeat at Whistling Straits two years prior.
McIlroy was speaking ahead of the DP World Tour Championship – live on Sky Sports from Thursday – where, regardless of his finish, he will end the season as European No 1 for a fifth time and be crowned Race to Dubai champion.
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Asked to grade his season out of 10, McIlroy said that losing the US Open at Los Angeles Country Club by one stroke to Wyndham Clark was his biggest regret as his quest for a fifth major title runs into a 10th year in 2024.
“I’d probably give it a seven out of 10,” McIlroy told reporters. “I had my best-ever Ryder Cup, which feels like a win to me, especially coming off the back of Whistling Straits.
“I’ll rue that miss at LA. I had a great opportunity there to pick up another major and I didn’t. But I’m not going to let that take away from the fact that it’s been another really consistent, solid year with some really good performances.
“I’m feeling like my game is in as good of shape as its ever been throughout my career. I’m happy with that, and I’ll try to finish this year off on a high and play well this week before resetting and getting ready for 2024.”
McIlroy closes in on Monty’s Order of Merit record
McIlroy has registered 5,164 points from his nine DP World Tour starts in 2023 and will successfully defend his Race to Dubai title, having also won the Order of Merit in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2022.
The Northern Irishman did not feature at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa, won by Max Homa, where Adrian Meronk and Ryan Fox – the only players starting the week with a chance to catch McIlroy – failed to earn enough points to stay in contention.
Mcllroy leads Masters champion Jon Rahm by 2,083 points in the season-long standings ahead of the final week of the campaign at Jumeriah Golf Estates in Dubai, where only 2,000 points will be available to the winner.
“I probably would have liked to have done it another way,” McIlroy reflected, having clinched his fifth Harry Vardon Trophy, taking him within three of Colin Montgomerie’s record of eight, without even playing.
“I’ve played well when I’ve came back over to The European Tour this year and won two Rolex Series Events and had some other really high finishes in tournaments that give a lot of points.
“It’s really nice to have my name on the Harry Vardon Trophy for the fifth time and just be one behind Seve [Ballesteros] and still a few behind Monty.
“You’re talking about the greats of the European game. If someone had told 18-year-old Rory when I was making my professional debut in 2007 that I would have won five Order of Merits up to this point, I wouldn’t have believed them.
“I certainly don’t take it for granted, and it shows the consistency that I’ve played with that even though I feel like I’ve had a good year, not a great year, I can still go ahead and achieve things like this.”
Watch the DP World Tour Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 7am on Sky Sports Golf, with a live blog running from all four rounds on the Sky Sports website and app. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and more with NOW.