McIlroy: Money list battle is over
Rory McIlroy has conceded defeat in his bid to deny Luke Donald arguably the greatest feat in golf this year.
There is still a round to go in the Dubai World Championship, the final event of the European Tour season, but McIlroy does not believe it is possible for him to come from eighth place to grab the win he needs - and for Donald to drop from fourth to outside the top nine.
"It's over, definitely," said the Northern Irishman, not wanting to blame his possible Dengue fever for the front-nine collapse that effectively invited Donald to put the champagne on ice.
If the Englishman, top of the world rankings since May, goes on to clinch the Tour number one spot he will become the first player ever to win the money list titles on both sides of the Atlantic in the same season.
It is a season when he will have won around £8million just for what he has done on the course. Goodness knows what fortunes he has also earned off it in sponsorship deals.
The 34-year-old described his bogey-free 66 as "the perfect round for me. Exactly what I wanted."
While he moved up from joint 12th place at halfway, McIlroy dropped five spots from his overnight third with a 71 consisting of a nightmare 39 on the front nine and then a 32 on the back nine.
That recovery, whatever the US Open champion says, means it is not quite all done and dusted yet.
McIlroy is six adrift of leader Alvaro Quiros, the Spaniard's closing bogey leaving him only two in front of Scot Paul Lawrie, and he should remember what happened only last week.
Quiros led the Hong Kong Open with a round to play and shot 73, while McIlroy fired a 65 to win.