Rory McIlroy eyes special double in Shanghai

Rory McIlroy believes he needs at least one win from his next three events to become only the second man after Henrik Stenson to win the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in the same season.

Rory McIlroy eyes special double in Shanghai

Open champion Stenson achieved the feat in 2013 and McIlroy can follow in the footsteps of his Ryder Cup team-mate after winning the FedEx Cup — and $10 million (€9m) bonus — for the first time in September.

The world number three is looking to win the Race to Dubai for the third year in succession and fourth time in the last five years, but is more than a million points behind Masters champion Danny Willett, who has a lead of more than 400,000 points over Stenson.

All three are part of the star-studded field for this week’s WGC-HSBC Champions event in China, which features 40 of the world’s top 50 and a first prize of €1.4m - with one euro equalling one Race to Dubai point.

“It would be great to get the double,” McIlroy said at the tournament’s launch event. “I’m hoping that’s what’s going to happen. I’ve got three tournaments left to try to do that. I’ve got a lot of ground to make up as well. Danny has had a great season, so has Henrik, so I know what I need to do in the last three weeks.

McIlroy has not played competitively since winning three points from five matches in Europe’s Ryder Cup defeat at Hazeltine and admits he could be somewhat rusty when he tees off alongside Bubba Watson and Adam Scott today.

“After what happened in the States with the FedEx Cup and then at the Ryder Cup, I really wanted to regroup and sort of recharge the batteries a little bit. It was a long stretch of golf,” McIlroy added.

“I wanted to come into these weeks feeling fresh and feeling ready to go and hopefully play some good golf and give myself a chance to win another Race to Dubai.

“I’m sure there will be a little bit of rust in there that I will need to work off but, the last few times I’ve played, I’ve played very well and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to keep up that run of form this week and hopefully to the end of the season.”

McIlroy also admitted for the first time his participation at the Olympic games was complicated by politics.

He pulled out before the event citing concerns over the Zika virus, but suggested yesterday there was more to the decision.

“The participation in the Olympics, for me it’s just a little more complicated It’s a difficult subject for me,” he added.

Offaly’s Shane Lowry is also in the hunt this week and tees off alongside Ashun Wu and Francesco Molinari.

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