Tiger Woods can't stop winning but Ireland's tour stars are in their biggest slump for 12 years.

While the world No 1 has opened up an even bigger gap at the top of the world rankings after his eight-shot win in the American Express Championship, Irish eyes are definitely not smiling as the season edges closer to its conclusion.

Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley played a major part in Europe's Ryder Cup victory at the K Club but none of them has managed to get over the winning line this season.

In fact, just two Irishmen have won an event on a professional event on any tour this year - but they are not the names you would expect.

Ulstermen Damian Mooney and Gareth Maybin have both taken titles on developmental tours with Mooney winning the EuroPro Tour's season opener in the Azores and Maybin winning on the Hooters Tour in the US.

McGinley maintained an unbroken run of Irish wins on the European Tour going back to 1995 when he took the Volvo Masters at Valderrama last year.

But after missing last week's American Express Championship, the Dubliner is now 66th in the Order of Merit and will not even make the elite 64-man field for Valderrama unless he moves up at least two places following this week's dunhill links championship in Scotland.

Although McGinley was Ireland's only European Tour winner last year, it was a bumper season in every other respect with a total of nine other Irish wins between the US PGA, European Senior, US Champions, Japanese and Challenge Tours.

True, Padraig Harrington came close to breaking his major duck in this year's US Open but bogeyed the last three holes to finish fifth.

But making an exception of Clarke, who lost his wife Heather following a long battle with illness in August, Irish professional performances have stagnated in 2006.

Harrington, fifth in the Order of Merit thanks mainly to three second place finishes this season, is now down to 19th in the world rankings from a high of sixth two years ago.

Graeme McDowell has slumped from 38th in the world in March last year to 96th this week while McGinley has crashed from 16th to 53rd in the space of 12 months.

McDowell looks certain to make the Volvo Masters as he is 56th in the Order of Merit entering this week's Dunhill Links Championship.

But it is a big week not only for McGinley, but also for 62nd ranked Damien McGrane and 69th ranked Peter Lawrie.

With a prize fund of €3.7 million and €630,566 for the winner, there is a huge amount at stake both at the top and the bottom of the money list.

At 117th, KIlkenny's Gary Murphy is still not certain of retaining his tour card for 2007 as the top 115 at the end of the season avoid the agony of the qualifying school.

Murphy's position is healthier than it looks as at least five of the players above him in the list will come out as they are not full members of the tour.

But it is far tighter for Waterville's David Higgins, who was holdling out little hope last night of getting one of two remaining invites to this week's Dunhill Links event.

Ranked 130th in the money list, Higgins has resigned himself to battling for his card in the Mallorca Classic from October 19-22.

Two of last year's Challenge Tour winners - Stephen Browne and Michael Hoey - are 160th and 194th in the money list and now look certain to be heading to the Qualifying School.

Athlone's Colm Moriarty has had a disastrous season on the Challenge Tour, making just four cuts from 18 starts.

At 222nd in the Challenge Tour rankings, he will also need a visit to the Q-School this autumn.

But it is already too late for Noel Fox, Justin Kehoe, Eamonn Brady, Tim Rice and Michael McDermott after they failed to come through Stage One last week.>

Irish tour wins


2006 - 2 wins: Gareth Maybin - Quicksilver Golf Classic (Hooters Tour, Damian Mooney - Azores Championship (EuroPro Tour)

2005 - 10 wins: Paul McGinley - Volvo Masters; Darren Clarke - Visa Masters (Japan); Padraig Harrington - Honda Classic (US), Barclays Classic (US); Denis O'Sullivan - Barbados Open (Eur Snrs); Des Smyth - Arcapita Seniors Tour Championship (Eur Snrs), SBC Classic (US), Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf (US); Michael Hoey - BA CA Golf Open (Challenge Tour); Stephen Browne - Kazakhstan Open (Challenge Tour)

2004 - 5 wins: Padraig Harrington - Hong Kong Open, Linde German Masters; Graeme McDowell - Italian Open; Darren Clarke - Visa Masters (Japan); Stephen Browne - Norwegian Challenge 2004

2003 - 4 wins: Padraig Harrington - BMW Asian Open, Deutsche Bank TPC of Europe; Darren Clarke - WGC-NEC Invitational, Northern Ireland Masters (Challenge Tour)

2002 - 7 wins: Darren Clarke - English Open; Graeme McDowell - Volvo Scandinavian Masters; Padraig Harrington - dunhill links championship, Target World Challenge (US); Denis O'Sullivan - Tunisian Seniors Open; Des Smyth - Champions Tour Q-School; Peter Lawrie - Challenge Tour Grand Final.