Singapore – World number one Rory McIlroy celebrated an “amazing” feat Sunday after becoming only the second man to win the money race on both sides of the Atlantic, courtesy of a third-place finish in Singapore.
McIlroy, 23, closed out in style with a 35-foot eagle putt on his last hole at the Barclays Singapore Open, and his unassailable lead in the standings was confirmed when Louis Oosthuizen lost a play-off with Matteo Manassero.
“It really is hugely satisfying to finally become the European number one, especially after finishing second two of the last three years,” McIlroy said.
“It has always been one of my goals to become number one in Europe ever since securing my tour card five years ago, but then to also end the year as both European and PGA Tour number one is just amazing.
“I feel so proud and humbled to join so many fabulous names in Europe who have won the order of merit”.
Luke Donald, who won the historic European and PGA Tour double last year, was quick to tweet his congratulations, along with McIlroy's tennis star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki who watched him play in Singapore.
“Congrats to my superstar boyfriend (at)McIlroyRory for grabbing both money titles this year! Unbelievable achievement, what a year!” she tweeted.
The money double rounds off a superlative year for McIlroy, 23, who reached world number one and won his second Major at the PGA Championship. He leaves Singapore with European season earnings of 3,696,597 euros ($4,698,005).
But McIlroy said he would not be taking it easy, with his ranking to protect and the target of Colin Montgomerie's eight European merit titles and even Jack Nicklaus's record of 18
“I've got a healthy lead in the world rankings, but with so many very good players on both sides of the Atlantic it will not be a time to be resting on my laurels. My goal is to push on in the new year,” he said.
“Monty (Montgomerie) won eight Order of Merits in his prime, and I have won one so there is plenty of ground to make up.
“Also Jack Nicklaus won 18 Majors and I now have my name on two, so targeting the Majors will still be my main focus next season.
“But to be able to go into 2013 being number one on both the European Tour and the PGA Tour is hugely satisfying.” – Sapa-AFP