Justin Rose hopes to put a dent in Rory McIlroy’s Race to Dubai lead this week at the BMW Masters in Shanghai as the Englishman aims to become European Number One for the second time.
Rose captured the Order of Merit in 2007, and could leapfrog World Number One McIlroy with a top-two finish at Lake Malaren Golf Club.
Winning the Race to Dubai would cap an outstanding year for Rose - whose victory at the WGC-Cadillac Championship was one of seven top-ten finishes in ten European Tour events. And the 32 year old believes pipping McIlroy to the title would represent a greater achievement than the last time he was The European Tour’s leading money earner.
“I kind of felt like it happened out of the blue that season,” said the World Number Five. “I now feel like if it happened again this season, it would come from a different place. I think that was a bit of a miraculous year - I seemed to play well in the right tournaments.
“For it to happen this year I think would be a lot more meaningful based upon there's been a lot of hard work that's gone on between 2007 and now; I think I'm a lot more aware of why I'm playing well, and a lot more sustainable into the future.
“To be Number One of any Tour around the world, especially obviously The European Tour, that's a huge goal and that would be a huge honour to be honest. It's got my attention obviously these next few events.
“It's been a nice rich vein of form that I've been in, and there is lots to play for the rest of the year.
“I think that's where I'm trying to stay mentally; keep myself fresh, keep myself focused, keep myself hungry for the rest of the season. Some big events coming up, and an exciting finish with The Race to Dubai.
“I think Rory is playing a lot of golf through the run up to Dubai, as am I. I think Rory is playing one more tournament than I am in the lead up, so I'm going to have to play well, absolutely. I figure I'm going to have to win one of these two weeks to give myself a really good chance in Dubai.”
Rose’s heroics this season have not been limited to an individual capacity - his victory over Phil Mickelson in The Ryder Cup singles after being one down with two to play proving one of the key moments of Europe’s scintillating victory.
There will be plenty of chances to reminisce about his 40 foot birdie putt on the 17th green this week, too, as 11 of the 12 players who provided the Miracle of Medinah and Captain José María Olazábal are reunited.
“It was the first time we've all had a chance to be together since that great match at Medinah,” Rose added. “It's been good to hear how the boys have reacted to it and what the reaction has been for them all home individually. We knew it was a great achievement at the time, but obviously when you start to hear how people watched it, what they thought of it when they watched it, really the magnitude of what we achieved that day definitely hit home.
“I haven't really come down from it just yet, and I know like Ian Poulter, for example, he still catches himself at home thinking about the week and thinking about what Ollie must be thinking at home with The Ryder Cup sitting on his mantelpiece. I think all of us, it's still very fresh in our memories. I think it's going to take a few weeks before we're fully over it.
“A lot of times you can get to this point in the season and be really burnt out and really looking forward to your break and stuff like that. But I still feel very motivated to play these tournaments coming up. There's still a lot more to achieve.”