Rory McIlory - I must focus on myself



Rory McIlroy will aim to show he has learnt the lesson of two years ago when he goes head-to-head with Luke Donald in Dubai on Thursday.

The European Tour money list title is on the line, just as it was when McIlroy faced Lee Westwood on the same Earth course at the inaugural Dubai World Championship.

Westwood won their duel by two shots and went on to a six-stroke victory, while the young Northern Irishman ended up third after admitting that he lost the psychological battle in that opening round.

"It was tough to fully concentrate on my own game when you're looking at the player beside you," McIlroy said today.

"I feel like it's something I've learnt because when I go out with Luke in the last game I'll only be trying to concentrate on myself and making sure that I can play the best I can."

The situation this time is that McIlroy will become the circuit's number one only if he wins and Donald, leading by more than £680,000, finishes outside the top nine.

It is a battle between the world's top two players, with the added incentive for Donald being that nobody has ever topped the money lists in both America and Europe in the same season, and one is in the bag already.

He was well over £1million clear just over a month ago, but McIlroy kept the issue alive by taking the Hong Kong Open on Sunday - a win he clinched by holing a bunker shot on the final hole.

Even with that, though, the most exciting young talent in golf has no doubt who is in the driving seat.

"I've still got a slim chance," US Open champion McIlroy said. "I've got to win and Luke has to finish outside the top nine or 10, whatever it is.

"I'm really not counting on him to do that because he's only finished outside the top 10 about twice this year.

"Over the last 18 months he's just been so consistent. He's deservedly the number one ranked player in the world.

"He's always had a great short game and always holes the putts that he should."

In just 12 counting events - six fewer than McIlroy - the Englishman has had three wins, two seconds, a fourth, a sixth, an eighth, a ninth, an 11th, a 45th at the US Open and a missed cut in The Open.

McIlroy also admits he is drained from a long run of tournaments and a virus that sent his white blood cell count "very low". He is currently awaiting the results of tests after visiting a doctor on arrival from the Far East.

"My energy levels are not exactly where I would want them to be, but I took a day off yesterday and took it easy," he said.

He was back in action for this afternoon's pro-am, but added: "I'll probably take another day off tomorrow, maybe hit a few balls.

"I'll really try to conserve my energy and focus it all into the four tournament days. I'm not 100%, but I'm still able to go out and play 18 holes and try and give it my all.

"It's definitely the longest stretch I've played (it began with the Dunhill Links in Scotland at the end of September and has involved three trips to Asia and one to Bermuda, plus stops in Istanbul and the Maldives with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki) and it's something I probably won't do again.

"I'll think about it a bit more, but it's something I wanted to do. I have no-one to blame but myself for wanting to play and sort of go week after week."

He is due to play in Thailand next week as well, but that depends on his health.

Then it is back home in time for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year night, where he, Donald and Open champion Darren Clarke have made the all-male short list of 10.

Not that any of them is expected to win. Favourite is cyclist Mark Cavendish.



Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own