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The chance of a third successive win to secure the Race to Dubai Title - and his place in the European Tour in subsequent years – is, by anyone’s standards, a little rocky.  

It’s all part of the game for Rory McIlroy.

He keeps that Irish cool as Danny Willet annihilates his lead in the WGC-HSBC Champions by over 300,000 points and Russell Knox pretty much wiped the board with him in Shanghai – leaving him to finish 11th.

Good thing the Ulsterman was given a special pass to compete at Dubai. Technically speaking – he probably shouldn’t have been given such grace. Not after missing the BMW Masters. 

But let’s face it - it wouldn’t be quite the same without him, he’s a major attraction for the sport.

Does past success impede future success?

Rory last picked up the trophy in Dubai in 2012. Along with several other valuable pieces of silverware including The Open, the US PGA Championship, the European Tour’s flagship event of the BMW PGA Championship and the WGC – Bridgestone invitational. Phew!

After what he’s achieved in the past, do we now expect a little too much from the 26 year old?

The Race to Dubai is not for the faint hearted: 48 tournaments in 27 countries across 12 months. It sorts the greats from the good, the wheat from the chaff and so on.

And from a spectator’s stance, it’s anybody’s game right to the last putt.

That’s what makes it one to watch. And you know what, it just wouldn’t be the same without Rory.

Race to Dubai Finale: 19th November.