Rory McIlroy has conceded that a third consecutive Race to Dubai title is beyond his reach as he prepares for this week’s DP World Tour Championship.
McIlroy needs to defend his title at Jumeirah Golf Estates, for Danny Willett to finish outside the top five, Alex Noren outside the top two and Henrik Stenson end up worse than 45th.
“Mathematically I can win, but it’s not going to happen,” said McIlroy.
“I think the three guys that are ahead of me are playing very good golf.”
Northern Ireland’s world number two added: “I wouldn’t hold my breath. I don’t expect those guys to play badly this week. I’m just concentrating on trying to win the golf tournament and if I can do that, I’ll be very pleased.”
McIlroy has won the season-ending event twice before and has never finished worse than 11th in seven appearances, but knows even another victory will probably not be enough to top the money list.
The 27-year-old effectively ruined his chances by withdrawing from the Turkish Airlines Open because of security concerns, but insisted he had no regrets.
Prior to that decision, the four-time major winner had finished fourth at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China and won the USPGA’s FedEx Cup crown.
“I’m very happy with my decision,” he added. “I’ve been here [Dubai] for the last couple of weeks. I’ve done a bit of practice, enjoyed myself.
“I feel pretty fresh and feel like I’m ready to go. I’m going to give it 100% for the last tournament of the year and hopefully I can put in a good performance and maybe get a fourth win of the season.
“Majors aside, I feel like it’s been a pretty good, consistent year. But going into next year, I’d like to think that my performances in the majors are going to be better.”