McIlroy nears million euro milestone

Teen tycoon Rory McIlroy can take his career earnings beyond one million euro in this week’s Barclays Singapore Open.

But the Holywood idol, 19, is more interested in points than prize money as he continues his meteoric rise up the world rankings.

Up more than 150 spots this year to 80th in the world, McIlroy wants to clinch his place in the exclusive top-50 club by leaving Major winners like Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson trailing in his wake this week.

With one eye on next year’s Majors, McIlroy said: “A win here would put me well inside the 50 and that's still the goal.

“I've got this week in Singapore and then next week's Hong Kong Open and two in South Africa so there's every chance of achieving that goal before the Christmas break.

“I had a great finish to the European Tour season and this event here in Singapore I am looking on as the start to my 2009 year and while the Race to Dubai has started all I am thinking about is world ranking points.

"I'm playing three national open's before the end of the year starting with this week and that means double the world ranking points.”

McIlroy has earned almost €980,000 since he turned professional 13 months ago and while he only needs to finish in the top 45 at Sentosa Golf Club to break the million euro barrier, he’s targeting the top prize of $792,500 (€630,000).

That should be more than enough to meet the laundry bill, which is a headache the Ulster rookie never expected on tour.

Reflecting on his first full season on the road, he said: “I’m still adjusting to living out of a suitcase and remembering to get my laundry done! But I’m really enjoying life on tour.

“I’ve really achieved the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year which were to finish in the top 60 in the Order of Merit and get into the top 100 of the World Rankings. I’ve passed both those which is a real buzz for me.”

Finishing the year with a win would put McIlroy in all next year’s Majors and World Golf Championships.

But he won’t have to worry about beating Ian Poulter this week after the English ace withdrew because his driver was stolen in Shanghai last week and a replacement will not arrive until Friday evening.

Poulter said: "I am really gutted. I have been thinking about it for four hours and I have decided to withdraw because my new driver will not arrive on time.

"It is disappointing because I did not come all this way not to play. But with so many world ranking points at stake if I played badly (by using a different driver) I may have lost ground."