Max Homa’s Nedbank Golf Challenge victory guarantees that Rory McIlroy will defend his Race to Dubai title and win the Harry Vardon Trophy for a fifth time; Watch the DP World Tour Championship live on Thursday from 7am on Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 12/11/23 9:13pm
Rory McIlroy will end the season as European No 1 for a fifth time and be crowned Race to Dubai champion, regardless of the outcome of next week’s DP World Tour Championship.
Mcllroy leads Masters champion Jon Rahm by 2,083 points in the season-long standings ahead of the final week of the campaign at Jumeriah Golf Estates in Dubai, where only 2,000 points will be available to the winner.
The Northern Irishman did not feature at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa, won by Max Homa, where Adrian Meronk and Ryan Fox – the only players starting the week with a chance to catch McIlroy – failed to earn enough points to stay in Race to Dubai contention.
Meronk only earned 94.5 points for his tied-15th finish and remains third in the standings, now holding 2,869 points, while Fox stayed fourth after a disappointing week saw him sharing 51st spot.
McIlroy has registered 5,164 points from his nine DP World Tour starts in 2023 and will successfully defend his Race to Dubai title, having also won the Order of Merit in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2022.
The former world No 1 secured the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in his opening event of the season and won the Genesis Scottish Open ahead of Robert MacIntyre in July, with a runner-up finish at the US Open one of three top-sevens in majors this year.
McIlroy also reached the semi-finals of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, took tied-seventh at the PGA Championship and earned a share of sixth at The Open, plus added another top-seven at the BMW PGA Championship in his most recent start.
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The 34-year-old becomes the first player in the Race to Dubai era to secure top spot before the final event of the year, while his fifth Harry Vardon Trophy moves him within three of Colin Montgomerie’s record of eight season-long titles.
McIlroy holds an unassailable advantage over Rahm, a three-time winner of the season finale and defending champion, with the pair among 10 members of Europe’s Ryder Cup-winning team set to be in the Dubai field.
Only the top-50 in the Race to Dubai rankings will complete for the £8.2m [$10m] purse, with reigning FedExCup champion Viktor Hovland and two-time DP World Tour championship winner Matt Fitzpatrick among those involved.
McIlroy has won the event himself in 2012 and 2015, with the former world No 1 now having the opportunity to join Rahm as a three-time winner of the season finale.
Watch the DP World Tour Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 7am on Sky Sports Golf, with a live blog running from all four rounds on the Sky Sports website and app. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and more with NOW.