Hanson ascended to No. 2 in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai after his victory last Sunday at the BMW Masters, where he edged McIlroy by a stroke. But even the 35-year-old Swede admitted Monday, “The way (Rory) is playing at the moment, it will take a tremendous effort for someone to catch him.”
Hanson’s triumph in Shanghai hasn’t yet altered his end-of-season plans, though it soon might. He trails McIlroy by €812,272 ($1,053,498), which is a pretty sizable advantage considering the world No. 1 is planning to play three more European Tour events: The Barclays Singapore Open, UBS Hong Kong Open and season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Hanson said on “Morning Drive” that if he plays well this week at the WGC-HSBC Champions, he would consider teeing it up the following week in Singapore. Otherwise, his plan is to return to the States for a few weeks – he lives in Orlando, Fla. – and return for the season finale in Dubai. By then, of course, his deficit could be insurmountable.
He has risen to a career-best 17th in the Official World Golf Ranking, and the Swede described this season as “easily the best year of my career.”
Apparently, that was the source of his disappointment at the recent Ryder Cup. Though the Europeans staged an incredible rally on the final day to retain the cup, Hanson was still brooding over his Saturday benching, during which he reportedly got into a heated exchange with captain Jose Maria Olazabal.
“You try to qualify for a year and work really hard to get in form,” Hanson said, “and when you play on the same side as 11 of the world’s top players, it’s hard to get a spot. I just have to keep working on my game and try to improve, and hopefully I’ll qualify for another team in the future and play a few more matches.
“I tried to get as good as I possibly could, and that good play spilled out in Holland (also won last month’s KLM Open) and last week as well.”