Donald suggests Dubai play-offs

Luke Donald hopes to end his golfing year with a bang this week – but has also given the European Tour something to think about.

Donald suggests Dubai play-offs

Luke Donald hopes to end his golfing year with a bang this week – but has also given the European Tour something to think about.

After winning in Japan on Sunday Donald is in Dubai for the €7.4m DP World Tour Championship, the closing event of the European Tour season.

Yet with Rory McIlroy having clinched the European Tour money list two weeks ago, England’s world number two said today: “It’s a little bit more of an anti-climax than probably the Tour would want.

“They may want to think about adding a scenario where that doesn’t happen and incorporate either a play-off system or some other way to make sure that it does go down to the wire.

“I think that makes it more exciting.”

The FedEx Cup play-offs in America are now constructed around a points system which means that no matter what happens in the first three tournaments the $10m bonus is still up for grabs in the fourth and final week.

This year, for example, McIlroy won the second and third legs, but it was Brandt Snedeker who lifted the trophy by winning the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Donald remembers the pressure he felt under this time last year when he was trying to complete the same double of European and PGA Tour money lists that McIlroy has now emulated.

“Last year I felt I had a target on my back,” he said before jokingly adding: “Thanks Rory for making my achievement look ordinary.

“Rory has made it look pretty easy. His consistency was unmatched by anyone.”

McIlroy did, however, miss the cut in the Hong Kong Open last week while Donald was capturing the Dunlop Phoenix for his third victory of 2012.

“I knew it was always going to be tough to follow up last year, but I’ve still been successful.”

The big disappointments, though, were again the majors. The 34-year-old has still to land one and his best finish this time around was fifth in The Open at Lytham.

He is going to put his clubs away for a month after this week and might not be seen in action again until mid-February.

The Dubai tournament is open to the leading 60 money-winners of the Tour season, but Retief Goosen and Thomas Bjorn are injured and Ross Fisher has chosen to prepare for the PGA Tour qualifying school.

Not surprisingly, McIlroy is quite happy with a system that allows him to wrap up the “Race to Dubai” two weeks before the finish.

The 23-year-old Northern Irishman said he felt “a little hard done by” not to take the FedEx Cup given his two victories out of the first three.

“I think the format’s good – it’s a season-long race,” he commented.

The “Race to Dubai” silverware will be presented to him on Sunday and he added: “I’d like to pick up two trophies.”

That would emulate Lee Westwood, who won the tournament and the money list title three years ago.

“Obviously I’m very proud and very honoured to win the ’Race to Dubai’. I’ve had four goes at it and came close a couple of times, so it’s great to be able to do it and it’s been a phenomenal year.”

The highlight was his second major title – by eight shots just like the US Open last year.

He does not plan to play quite as much next season, though his schedule has yet to be fully worked out.

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