Padraig Harrington wants to battle red-hot Rory McIlroy for an incredible Irish double in Dubai.

McIlroy had the last laugh at Lough Erne in July. Who will come out on top this time?The Dubliner is gunning for his first tour win for 15 months in the €5m Dubai World Championship at Greg Norman's Earth course.

But he's also rooting for the "phenomenal" McIlroy as the Holywood hotshot battles to capture the inaugural Race to Dubai and become just the third Irish winner of the Harry Vardon Trophy.

Already preparing for next year's US Masters, Harrington said: "I hope he wins the order of merit and I hope I win the tournament. I'd take that right now. Both of us would be happy with that. 

"If it is coming down the stretch between the two of us, it will be a good tough game I'm sure. 

"He's in a great position, obviously concentrating on this one event and doing as well as he can and the order of merit will look after itself. 

"He doesn't have to worry about the other guys, they have to worry about him."

McIlroy, 20, leads the money list by €128,000 but only Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer or Ross Fisher can stop him becoming the youngest European No 1 since Seve Ballesteros won at 19 in 1976.

And Harrington reckons that likeable McIlroy would be a massively popular winner amongst his fellow pros on a course that's right up the Ulsterman's street.

Harrington explained: "Looking at the golf course, I think he has got a really strong chance.  Three guys can pass him but I think Rory's in a great position, fantastic, out there in front. 

"I think he is hot favourite. Not only can he keep it in his own hands but I think the other guys are going to have to play very well. 

"He is a fantastic player and everyone admires his game. He has performed superbly consistently all year and he is a nice guy with it.

"As much as he is a competent golfer, he maintains a very nice attitude off the course which is a really great thing. 

"I don't think anybody is not rooting for him to win it, bar Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Ross Fisher let's say. Everyone else is very much in his camp.

"It's phenomenal play through the year and he's been tipped from a young age. That only puts more pressure on you to deliver and it is a sign of how good he is.

"Nobody out here looks on him as a 20 year old. They look on Rory as a great player and that's it. 

"He doesn't regard himself as a kid and nobody else does either. Everyone just sees a great player who is leading the Order of Merit. They don't take into account his age or anything like that."