Things just keep getting better for Rory McIlroy, who could face Tiger Woods in the third round of next week's WGC-Accenture Match Play in Arizona.
Just three weeks after clinching his first tour title, the Ulsterman was named as the Race To Dubai European Tour Golfer Of The Month for January. But he also learned on Monday that he could face Woods in a potentially sensational third round match in Tucson.
The exotic sounding title recognises the outstanding performer from the European Tour each month, and the Holywood ace beat off competition from the likes of Paul Casey and Alvaro Quiros, both of whom won during January.
“It was a huge thrill to win my first European Tour title against such a high quality field and in the place where The Race to Dubai will be decided in ten months time, " the 19-year-old said after winning in Dubai.
“Obviously I’d love to be back at the end of the season competing for the Dubai World Championship and the number one spot in The Race to Dubai.”
McIlroy will return to action in the WGC-Accenture Match Play in Arizona next week and while world No 1 Woods has not played since undergoing knee surgery last June, he is ready to return.
Woods is the defending champion in Tucson and has until Friday to decide whether or not he is ready to play in the first World Golf CHampionship of the season.
If there are no withdrawals Woods would open against Australian Brendan Jones and Dubai Desert Classic champion McIlroy against South African Louis Oosthuizen, who finished second in both Abu Dhabi and Qatar.
Padraig Harrington is set to take on American Pat Perez with Graeme McDowell scheduled to play former Masters champion Zach Johnson
If Woods does not play and there are no further withdrawals, Sergio Garcia will face Australia’s Richad Green, Harrington will take on Jones and McIlroy will battle Denmark’s Anders Hansen. McDowell would then avoid Johnson and take on Australia’s Robert Allenby.
Provisional draw (seeded positions in brackets):
(1) Tiger Woods v (64) Brendan Jones; (32) Tim Clark v (33) Retief Goosen; (16) Rory McIlroy v (49) Louis Oosthuizen; (17) Mike Weir v (48) Hunter Mahan; (8) Geoff Ogilvy v (57) Kevin Sutherland; (25) Trevor Immelman v (40) Shingo Katayama; (9) Camilo Villegas v (56) Rod Pampling; (24) Miguel Angel Jimenez v (41) Rory Sabbatini
(4) Vijay Singh v (61) Soren Kjeldsen; (29) Ben Curtis v (36) Luke Donald; (13) Ernie Els v (52) Soren Hansen; (20) Steve Stricker v (45) Dustin Johnson; (5) Phil Mickelson v (60) Angel Cabrera; (28) Zach Johnson v (37) Graeme McDowell; (12) Lee Westwood v (53) Prayad Marksaeng; (21) Stewart Cink v (44) Richard Sterne
(2) Sergio Garcia v (63) Charl Schwartzel; (31) Ian Poulter v (34) Jeev Milkha Singh; (15) Justin Rose v (50) Boo Weekley; (18) Adam Scott v (47) Sean O'Hair; (7) Robert Karlsson v (58) Peter Hanson; (26) Alvaro Quiros v (39) Stephen Ames; (10) Kenny Perry v (55) Matthew Goggin; (23) Paul Casey v (42) Aaron Baddeley
(3) Padraig Harrington v (62) Pat Perez; (30) Robert Allenby v (35) Ross Fisher; (14) Jim Furyk v (51) Anders Hansen; (19) Martin Kaymer v (46) Stuart Appleby; (6) Henrik Stenson v (59) Davis Love; (27) Justin Leonard v (38) Andres Romero; (11) Anthony Kim v (54) Lin Wen-tang; (22) KJ Choi v (43) Oliver Wilson