Rory McIlroy ends year as number one
DUBAI. — Rory McIlroy ended the year as European number one golfer despite Spain’s Jon Rahm claiming a third DP World Tour Championship title in Dubai on Sunday.
Rahm hit a five-under 67 on the final day to finish on 20 under, two ahead of England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Alex Noren of Sweden.
World number one McIlroy was a shot back in fourth after a four-under 68.
“It feels like a long time since I lifted that trophy,” McIlroy told Sky Sports.
“It’s been seven years and it feels just as good as I can remember.”
The Northern Irishman, who started the final round on 12 under after carding a seven-under 65 on Saturday, lifted the Harry Vardon Trophy for the fourth time in his career.
England’s Matt Fitzpatrick, McIlroy’s only rival for the top spot in the DP World Tour rankings, was on 14 under heading into Sunday but hit a double bogey and three bogeys to end his chances of finishing the season as Europe’s number one.
To top the ranking, June’s US Open champion Fitzpatrick would have needed to win and McIlroy to finish second, or if Fitzpatrick had finished as runner-up, he would have required McIlroy to be outside the top seven.
McIlroy also becomes just the second player to win the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai titles in the same season after Henrik Stenson in 2013 having clinched the PGA Tour’s top prize in August.
McIlroy congratulated Rahm, who won his ninth title on the DP World Tour and became the first player to win the tournament three times at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
“It would have been nice to get one win in there at the end of the year but Jon played an incredible tournament and fully deserved it,” McIlroy said.
“I would like to say I am right up there in the best players in the world — but he is right up there with me.” — BBC Sport