Luke Donald can become first man to top both European and PGA Tour money lists
World No.1 needs a two-way tie for ninth or better this weekend to seal triumph
Rory McIlroy is the only player who can stop Donald making history
McIlroy needs to win this weekend's Dubai World Championship
World number one Luke Donald has already set his sights on winning his first major in 2012, ahead of a weekend which could see the Englishman become the first golfer to top both the European and PGA Tour money lists.
Donald will seal an historic double with a two-way tie for ninth position or better at this weekend’s Dubai World Championship, the big-money climax to the European Tour season.
“It’s been a fun ride,” the 34-year-old told CNN of his rise up the world rankings. “I think every aspiring golfer or athlete always wants to be as good as they can be.
“There’s nothing better than being number one. I feel like I have a lot more to achieve in this game but getting to number one was a very proud moment for me.”
World No.2 and U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy is the only man who stands in the way of Donald and a landmark achievement, but the Northern Irishman needs to win the tournament at Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth Course to stand any chance of finishing the year on top.
Donald, who sealed his PGA Tour triumph with a win at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in October, is currently on €3,856,394 ($5.166 million) in the European Tour standings, with McIlroy on €3,066,606 ($4.106 million).
McIlroy’s record-breaking triumph at Congressional in June sealed a first career major for the 22-year-old, with Donald saying the performances of his young rivals motivate him to work harder at his game.
“He’s already had a great year,” Donald said of McIlroy. “(He) had an extremely impressive U.S. Open, the way he won there was fantastic.
“That’s what inspires me to work hard, I’ve got to try and keep one foot ahead of them. But you can only concentrate on yourself, you can’t really worry about what they’re doing.
“No matter who’s chasing me, the goal every week is to win the tournament.”
Turning his attention to his own performances in golf’s four majors, Donald highlighted that as one area in which he would like to improve in 2012.
“I had a chance in a couple of the majors,” said Donald, who’s best showing in golf’s four showpiece tournaments in 2011 was a tie for fourth at the Masters. “I had a good chance at the Masters.
“I didn’t play my best at the PGA Championships, but was still kind of hanging around. But still, a lot of work to be done.
“It’s a hole in my resume and I’d love to fill that one. I’m excited about having four more chances next year. Majors are different, they bring a lot of pressure, but certainly I’ve already been thinking about it for next year.”
Donald and McIlroy have been paired together for the Dubai World Championship, with the first round under way Thursday.
McIlroy won last weekend’s Hong Kong Open to set up the showdown but has been suffering from a stomach virus in the build up to the final tournament of the Race to Dubai.