Top of the standings, McIlroy is in pole position among seven players with a chance of winning the Race to Dubai on Sunday after the last event of the European Tour season at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
McIlroy, who missed last week's BMW Masters in Shanghai, leads England's Danny Willett by 1,613 points. He needs to finish ahead of Willett, and inside the top three in case any of the next five players win the tournament, to secure his third European crown.
''I didn't quite think I'd be in this position, especially after taking the week off last week,'' McIlroy said Tuesday. ''But a few of the guys didn't capitalize on that in China thankfully and I find myself in a position where it's totally in my hands.
''If I go out and win the tournament, I win the overall thing no matter what anybody else does, and that's a nice position to be in. I just want to win the tournament. I don't care who finishes second, who finishes third.''
McIlroy's bid for the European title has been hampered by an ankle injury this year ruled him out of three tournaments that would have counted toward the Race to Dubai – the Scottish Open, British Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
He has played only 11 events this season and needed special intervention from the European Tour to get into the $8 million DP World Tour Championship.
The event is open only to the top 60 players on the Race to Dubai who have met the minimum requirement of having played at least 12 events.
McIlroy will not be playing any tournaments after this one until the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship from Jan. 21-24 next year.