McIlroy admits criticism fair for no show
“I’m in the fortunate position where I can dictate where I want to play, what I want to do, where I want to go.”
His lead at the top of the European Order of Merit is over €760,000 and nearest challengers Peter Hanson, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter are not playing this week or at next week’s Hong Kong Open, where he is the defending champion. Unless South African Louis Oosthuizen wins on Sunday to jump into second spot a third place finish could see it all done and dusted with two weeks to spare.
“For sure I’m in the lead at the minute and it would be nice to increase that. There’s still a lot to play for in the next three weeks and I want to finish off the season as strong as possible. It would be great to get another win or two.”
Oosthuizen’s opportunity to grab the money-list title may have come and gone when he crashed from five clear to only a sixth place finish last week. American star Phil Mickelson was a joint runner-up there and has also moved on to Singapore, as has Australian Adam Scott, going for a fourth victory at the event in eight years.
Scott is sixth in the world, but has not tasted victory since August last year and shockingly, of course, bogeyed the last four holes when four clear at the British Open in July. Mickelson and Scott partner Ireland’s Padraig Harrington in the opening two rounds and he is hoping his victory last month in the four-man PGA Grand Slam in Bermuda was a sign of good things to come.
“Winning is a habit,” the Dubliner said. “It was only 36 holes and there were only four players, but still you get the same feelings when you’re coming down the stretch. Those are the sorts of experiences you want to have as often as possible. It makes winning easier.
“I see good things ahead, absolutely. I hit the ball very well this year and my weakness this year has traditionally been my strength — I didn’t putt very well. The good thing about that is I believe I can bring it back. There’s a lot of optimism in my game going forward. I believe I’m coming back into another peak.”