DP World Tour scenarios: Who can stop McIlroy ending season No 1?


Rory McIlroy and Ryan Fox can guarantee top spot in the DP World Tour rankings with a victory; Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland, Shane Lowry and Adrian Meronk can also all finish in No 1 spot; Watch the DP World Tour Championship live on Sky Sports Golf

Last Updated: 15/11/22 1:53pm

Matt Fitzpatrick (left) is third in the DP World Tour rankings and can still catch Rory McIlroy in top spot Matt Fitzpatrick (left) is third in the DP World Tour rankings and can still catch Rory McIlroy in top spot

Matt Fitzpatrick (left) is third in the DP World Tour rankings and can still catch Rory McIlroy in top spot

The DP World Tour season reaches its climax this week at the DP World Tour Championship, with six players still in the running to catch Rory McIlroy at the top of the season-long standings.

Only the top 50 available players in the DP World Tour rankings get to feature at Jumeirah Golf Estates, with McIlroy heading into the event in top spot and 128 points ahead of closest challenger Ryan Fox in the season-long standings.

A McIlroy victory would see him end the campaign as DP World Tour No 1 and claim the Harry Vardon Trophy, although the 2,000 points on offer to the winner means there’s a host of potential scenarios for where players will finish the season.

Will Zalatoris and Thomas Pieters – two players still with a mathematical chance of leapfrogging McIlroy – are both missing from this week’s field, while Adrian Meronk, Shane Lowry, Viktor Hovland would all require a win and various permutations to go their way to have a chance.

Tommy Fleetwood stayed in the running after his successful title defence at the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Sunday, his first victory since 2019, although would need another victory and both McIlroy and Fox to finish outside the top two to make a late jump to top spot.

Highlights from the fourth and final day of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa, where Tommy Fleetwood claimed a narrow victory

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Highlights from the fourth and final day of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa, where Tommy Fleetwood claimed a narrow victory

Highlights from the fourth and final day of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa, where Tommy Fleetwood claimed a narrow victory

US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick starts the week in third spot and could still win the DP World Tour rankings with a runner-up finish, should McIlroy finish outside the top seven and Fox fail to win.

A third DP World Tour Championship title for Fitzpatrick would move him to No 1 if McIlroy isn’t the player below him, while Fox could finish as low as 13th and still top the DP World Tour rankings depending on McIlroy’s result.

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November 17, 2022, 6:00am

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How McIlroy moved to top spot

McIlroy’s tied-12th finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January was the worst of nine starts on the DP World Tour this season, with the Northern Irishman claiming third spot at the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic the following week ahead of his stellar major campaign.

A runner-up finish at The Masters and eighth-place showing at the PGA Championship were followed by him claiming fifth at the US Open and then narrowly missing out on victory at The Open, before McIlroy brought his FedExCup-winning from the PGA Tour back across to Europe in the autumn.

The best of the action from the final round of the Tour Championship, where Rory McIlroy defeated Scottie Scheffler to win the FedExCup

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The best of the action from the final round of the Tour Championship, where Rory McIlroy defeated Scottie Scheffler to win the FedExCup

The best of the action from the final round of the Tour Championship, where Rory McIlroy defeated Scottie Scheffler to win the FedExCup

McIlroy claimed second at the BMW PGA Championship in the first of three consecutive top-four finishes on the DP World Tour, lifting him to top spot, with the 33-year-old now looking to become the first player since Henrik Stenson to win the FedExCup and DP World Tour order of merit in the same year.

The four-time major winner has won the DP World Tour Championship twice and has topped the season-long standings on three previous occasions, most recently in 2015, with McIlroy now looking to end his year on a high with a fourth worldwide victory.

Live DP World Tour Golf

November 17, 2022, 5:00am

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“I’ve had some success around here and I’ve had some great memories in Dubai in general,” McIlroy said in his pre-tournament press conference. “I’ve won four times across this tournament and the Desert Classic.

“It’s a nice feeling to come back here and have a chance to win the season title. It’s been a few years but with my consistent play this year and obviously in the majors and some of the bigger events, I find myself in a nice position. So yeah, nice to come in with not just one by two things at stake.”

Watch the DP World Tour Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday with Featured Groups from 5am on Sky Sports Golf, ahead of full coverage from 6am.

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