If all goes to plan, Rory McIlroy could have well over a third of his career at the pinnacle of professional golf remaining still. That's according to the man himself, who believes he has "a good eight to ten years left" competing for the World No.1 spot.
The 34-year-old collected his eighth season-long title in the past 10 years on Sunday - lifting the Race To Dubai trophy for a fifth time and moving to third on the European Tour's all-time list behind the late Severiano Ballesteros (six) and Colin Montgomerie (eight).
McIlroy's latest gong arrived despite a relatively disappointing finish via a tie for 22nd at the campaign-ending DP World Tour Championship, played on the Earth Course on Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.
After turning pro in 2007, the charismatic Northern Irishman went on to take the golfing world by storm and collected all four of his Majors by close of play in 2014. Despite several near misses since the 2014 PGA Championship, McIlroy is optimistic he still has plenty of time to change his misfortune at Majors while moving past the aforementioned icons in terms of European crowns, too.
Asked about chasing Monty and Seve's respective records down, McIlroy said: "Yeah, still got a little bit left in the tank. I think I've still got a good eight to ten years left in me where I can play at the top, top level.
"I'd like to think that I'm going to challenge, at least try to get past Seve and then sort of try to get past Monty as well. But it's certainly a goal of minute for the rest of my career to do something like that. It would mean a lot to me."
Despite having already sealed the deal ahead of this season's final tournament courtesy of another stellar 2023 which included two Rolex Series events, McIlroy was unable to stick with his Ryder Cup teammates at the top of the leaderboard and was forced to watch on as Nicolai Hojgaard beat out Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Wallace, and Viktor Hovland for the big prize.
Such is McIlroy's consistency over the years, the golfing world sees a result outside of the top-10 as a talking point. And speaking in his post-tournament press conference, McIlroy suggested he agreed.
Asked how he felt to be officially labelled as the DP World Tour's best player once again, McIlroy said: "It's great. I think it shows my consistency year-to-year. I think over the last ten years, I think I've won eight season-long titles between America and between here, so it just shows my level of consistency.
"I said to Harry [Diamond - caddie] on the last green, there's a few guys that are able to beat me sort of one week or the next week but I don't think there's a lot of people that can beat me throughout the entire season. It's just about trying to be a little more clinical when I get to those weeks where I have chances to win.
"Overall, it's been another really solid year. Stroke average has been great and I've played really good golf, really consistent. Hopefully more of the same going into next year and beyond."
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Jonny Leighfield is our Staff Writer, joining Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and has since spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. The self-proclaimed ‘worst golfer in the office’ still enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.
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