Sergio Garcia and Marcel Siem still have a mathematical chance of denying Rory McIlroy his second Race to Dubai crown in three years but the Spaniard and his Ryder Cup team mate Lee Westwood reckon the Ulsterman “deserves” to win the Harry Vardon Trophy for his “extraordinary” year.
Garcia and Siem must win this week’s Turkish Airlines Open and the final counting DP World Tour Championship to deny McIlroy the No 1 spot.
But considering the 24-year old won the tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship and then completed a remarkable hat-trick of wins by sandwiching the World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational between consecutive major wins in the The Open and the US PGA, it seems incongruous to think that he might not end the season as the top player in Europe.
Westwood and Garcia both believe the European Tour’s four-event Final Series needs some “tweaks” but they do not believe efforts should be made to match the playoff volatility of the US Tour’s FedEx Cup series.
“I guess for the fans and stuff, it's nice if it goes down to the last tournament,” Garcia said. “But on the other hand, I'm also a big believer in that if you have done something extraordinary to be able to achieve that, to win before the last tournament happens, why shouldn't you be the winner.
“I think Rory did something quite extraordinary this season and this summer more than anything, and maybe he deserves to be The Race to Dubai Champion, even before we play the Dubai World Championship next week.
“So you know, it's kind of like a thin line between both opinions, I guess you might say. But you know, I guess you can't always please everybody at the end of the day.”
Westwood went a little further, adding: “If you look at Rory's season, he's won two major championships, a World Golf Championships, and our Flagship Event, the BMW PGA Championship, which is a phenomenal year. If you put that up in somebody's career, those four tournaments, that would be a good career, and he's done that in six months, basically.
“Occasionally somebody will do something extraordinary and deserves to win the Money List this year, that, for me. If you do have it where it's all on the last event, we are getting into that area of copying the PGA TOUR again and copying the FedEx.
And people complain at that that it's a little too volatile at the end. I've looked over the last few years and it just seems that whoever wins THE TOUR Championship wins the FedExCup in the States, which can be you can look at that one of two ways; that's not ideal sometimes.
“I have no problems with it being over before the final event, especially this year with what Rory has done.”
It’s not over, of course, and when McIlroy turns up in Dubai next week he will be the name they all look for on the leaderboard.
“I think that when you have the calibre of Rory, you obviously take a little peek here and there knowing when he's up there on the leaderboard and he's around it,” Garcia said.
“Obviously it happened with Tiger before and it's happened many years throughout our careers, and before our careers with Jack and Arnold and Gary Player and Greg Norman and Seve.
“There's always a handful of guys that when you see them on the board, you know that they are not going to go anywhere. So you know that you are going to have to bring out your best if you want to stay on top of them.
“But I think that's great. Any player that can bring something extra to the game that makes the game better, it's always good for our game and at the end of the day, that's our goal, to make our game better, whichever way that's possible.”