SHANGHAI (Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy has his sights firmly set on winning the money list on both major tours as he links up with most of his fellow European Ryder Cup heroes at this week’s BMW Masters in Shanghai.
For the first time since they stunned the United States in Medinah last month, McIlroy has joined 10 of his 12 Ryder Cup-winning team mates at the Lake Malaren course, although personal ambitions have now taken centre stage.
“I’ve got a big run left in my year with four tournaments in the next five weeks, so I would like to finish off the season as well as I can,” the Northern Irishman, who tops the U.S. PGA Tour money list, told reporters on Tuesday after enjoying a week off.
”I have finished second in Europe’s Race to Dubai two of the last three years so it would be good to knock that off and try and do what Luke (Donald) did last year and win the money list on both Tours.
“I’ve got Justin (Rose) and Branden (Grace) right behind me and there is still some big-money events still to play, so I’ve four events left and if I do play well in those four events hopefully I can achieve that goal.”
Both Rose and Grace, along with the next seven on the money list, could go ahead of leader McIlroy if successful in capturing this week’s $1.2million cheque for first place.
McIlroy flopped at the World Golf Final in Turkey earlier this month, losing his match against rival Tiger Woods, but he acknowledged the high of winning the Ryder Cup meant he was not at his best at the inaugural tournament won by Rose.
“If I had known the summer I was going to have, I really would not have signed up for the Turkish event,” said McIlroy.
“But then I went and it was a pretty relaxing week and I got to spend the week with (girlfriend) Caroline (Wozniacki) which was nice. However I did not pick up a club since the Ryder Cup until the day before the Turkish match, so I wasn’t taking it that seriously.”
McIlroy will renew his rivalry with Woods next Monday in the “Duel at Lake Jinsha” in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou.
“I’ve spoken to Tiger about it and we are both really excited as it will be the first time we will ever do something like this together, and hopefully the first of a few occasions we can do this,” McIlroy said.
“I see it also as a good marketing exercise for Tiger and myself. We both enjoy each other’s company and besides there are not many guys I would do something like this with and I know he feels the same. So it should work well.”
McIlroy was also quizzed on speculation he will ditch Titleist and switch at the end of the season to a new multi-million dollar club deal with sports giant Nike, who sponsor Woods.
“These rumours have been going around for years and it seems to always come up at this time of the year,” said McIlroy.
“I leave it up to Conor (Ridge my manager) to sort out so I can concentrate on my golf. That’s all I can do and besides I have enough to think about trying to get the ball in the hole.”
McIlroy, who won the Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters last year at this week’s venue, can bag a BMW double after winning the BMW Championship in the U.S. last month.
He has been drawn to play the opening two rounds of the 78-player event in the company of Medinah-winning colleagues Lee Westwood and Rose.
Editing by Mark Meadows