Danny Willett: I'd rather win Race to Dubai with Rory McIlroy in it

Danny Willett
Danny Willett
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Danny Willett insists he has no issue with Rory McIlroy being given a special exemption to remain in the Race to Dubai, even though that could stop him from ending the season as European number one.

The ankle injury which forced McIlroy to sit out three tournaments this summer, including the defence of his Open title at St Andrews, means he will not play the 13 events required to remain in the Race to Dubai, even though he currently leads the rankings.

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

However, European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley cited ''exceptional circumstances'' in granting McIlroy permission to remain on the money list by playing 12 events as he tries to win the Harry Vardon Trophy for the third time in four years.

McIlroy is therefore eligible for a share of the 5million US dollars bonus pool and it also affects the top 30 on the money list on November 15 who qualify for next year's Open, the top 60 who make the season-ending DP World Tour Championship and the 110 players who keep their card for next season.

Willett would also be entitled to significant bonuses from his sponsors if he won the Race to Dubai, but is happy to try to wipe out his deficit of £214,071 on the course, starting with this week's British Masters at Woburn.

The 28-year-old said: "If he wins more money than me playing less events, so be it.

"I appreciate rules are rules and there could be a few implications down the line of who finishes 61st or 111th on the Order of Merit and this and that. But from a personal point of view, (winning) the Race to Dubai without Rory in it wouldn't really be that great.

"You want to play and you want to win these things when the best players in the world are playing, and if he can get more money with injuries, that's just good golf.

"You have bonuses from sponsors and bits and bobs but by the same token, you wouldn't want to win it by not winning it. It's all nice and well to get paid here and do this and that, but if you know inside you've not quite won it, it wouldn't sit right with me."

Willett also has other things on his mind following the announcement that his wife Nicole is expecting their first child in 2016, which is one of the factors behind his decision not to take up PGA Tour membership next season.

"I spoke to a lot of guys about it, guys who have been there, done it, seen both sides of it," the world number 25 added. "And obviously in terms of Ryder Cup points, staying in Europe is beneficial for myself.

"I'd have liked to have taken the card but think maybe it's just a year or two too early. Hopefully we're in the same position the next year or the year after and we're able to make the decision yes or no. It could be no again. All depends on how everything is going.

"I think being comfortable inside the top 50 in the world now it makes it easy to not take it. If I was around 50 or 60 in the world, I probably still might have because you're not guaranteed to get all the World Golf Championships and all that stuff.

"Being comfortably inside it, we're in everything next year so it's not going to be too difficult to kind of have a similar schedule, a 10 to 12-event schedule over there next year."