So much for any late-season drama on the European Tour. Race to Dubai leader Rory McIlroy will face no resistance from his closest pursuers over the next two weeks.
With the news that Nos. 2-5 on the money list – Peter Hanson, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter and Branden Grace, respectively – each will skip this week’s Barclays Singapore Open and the following week’s UBS Hong Kong Open, the Northern Irishman has essentially been conceded the Order of Merit title. He needs only a top 10 this week in Singapore to become the second player in two years (Luke Donald) to capture the money title on both the PGA and European tours in the same season.
After tying for 24th at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shenzhen, China, Hanson is now €764,776 ($977,787) behind McIlroy. He had flirted with the idea of adding the Singapore Open to his schedule, but instead has declined the invitation and returned home to Orlando, Fla.
Hanson explained his decision to reporters in China on Sunday: “In the bigger picture, I still have plenty of years to win the Race to Dubai and, besides, given the way Rory has played this year, I feel as though he deserves to end the year as No. 1.”