Pádraig Harrington is 99th in the latest Official World Golf Ranking - his lowest position for more than 14 years.
The Dubliner, who could soon fall out of the world’s top 100 next for the first time since he was 108th on 8 August 1999, will miss this week’s Portugal Masters as he must travel to Bermuda on Sunday to prepare for his defence of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
With Open champion Phil Mickelson opting against teeing it up, Harrington will take on Masters champion Adam Scott, U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and US PGA Champion Jason Dufner before preparing for the BMW Masters in Shanghai.
He made the field for the first event of the European Tour’s four-tournament “Final Series” by the skin of his teeth as one of the top 60 available players from the top 100 in the world rankings.
However, he does not qualify for the following week’s HSBC Champions and may not get into the field for the following week’s Turkish Airlines Open either.
That means a top performance in BMW Masters at Lake Malaren is crucial if 66th ranked Harrington - nearly €44,000 adrift of 60th ranked Craig Lee - is to make the top 60 in the Race to Dubai who qualify for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
Darren Clarke, who had his best European Tour finish since winning the 2011 Open when he came tied 12th in the Alfred Dunhill Links, joins Charl Schwartzel for the OneAsia Tour’s $1m Nanshan China Masters next week
Admitting that 2013 has not been his best season, Clarke said: “It hasn’t gone exactly as I would have liked, but there have been several encouraging signs recently and I am hoping to have a much better end to the season than the start.”
Clarke is not among the eight Irish players competing in this week’s Portugal Masters at Vilamoura, where Shane Lowry defends the title hoping to build on his third place finish in the Alfred Dunhill Links and edge closer to the world’s top 50.
The second last counting event for those trying to finish in the top 110 in the Race to Dubai who will retain full playing privileges for 2014, it’s a crucial week for Peter Lawrie and David Higgins.
Both have entered the final counting event in Australia, next week’s Perth International at Lake Karrinyup in Perth.
Lawrie is 111th in the money list with Higgins 114th and both need to make the cut at least to ease the pressure on their shoulders in Australia.
As things stand, Higgins is third reserve for the Perth event and may need to do all the work this week if he is to avoid another trip to the Q-School.