It goes without saying that Rory McIlroy’s form around the Earth Course at Jumeirah Estates is second to none. This week, ahead of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai played around the very same course, 15th Club expert Justin Ray offers an insight as to why Rory McIlroy is the best player on Earth.
By Justin Ray, 15th Club’s Head of Content
Long iron perfection
The length of the Earth Course means players typically face more approach shots from 170-250 yards, and fewer from 150 and in. This has played to McIlroy’s strengths throughout his career, especially when he was younger.
Rory has been able to use his power to great advantage at this venue. Each of the last four times McIlroy finished in the top-five in this event, his personal statistics that season leaned stronger on the longer approach shots.
When McIlroy is in full flight, there isn’t a course around the world where he isn’t a factor entering a tournament. Rory has a scoring average of 67.5 in his last 24 rounds worldwide, with 20 of those scores being in the 60s. McIlroy’s course history, form and the big stage this week will make him tough to beat.
Par 4 advantage
One area where Rory has been especially strong on this course has been the par 4s. McIlroy is 62-under-par on the par 4s in his career here, 24 strokes better than anyone else all-time. Rory was ranked 22nd on the European Tour last season in par 4 scoring but has jumped up to 4th this season.
McIlroy has also putted a bit better than average here over the years. Rory has one-putted about 41 percent of his career holes on this course, which is better than his worldwide percentage during that same time frame. McIlroy’s putts per green in regulation follow a similar trend.
Rory’s resume at this venue is second to none. A few key stats illustrate this:
-Since this tournament began in 2009, McIlroy has a cumulative score to par of 129-under – 30 strokes better than any other player. Francesco Molinari is second, at -99.
-Rory has 25 rounds in the 60s in his career on this course, four more than anyone else.
-McIlroy’s scoring average at this venue is 68.42, tied for the best of any player in tournament history with at least 12 rounds played (alongside Patrick Reed).
-Rory is one of just two players to average 2.0 strokes gained or more against the field per round (minimum 12 rounds played). The other is 2010 champion Robert Karlsson.
Throughout the years here, McIlroy has been excellent at seizing the scoring opportunities down the stretch. Rory is a combined 48-under in his career on holes 14 through 18, better than any player in the tournament’s history.
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