sport

Hanson to make up for lost time

Peter Hanson knows he is partly responsible for the European Tour's season-ending event in Dubai not being the climax it might have been.

But the 35-year-old Swede has no regrets about staying away from the previous two tournaments and allowing Rory McIlroy to clinch the money list title.

If Hanson, second on the table, wins the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday he could finish as little as 25,735 behind McIlroy - peanuts given that between them they have already earned over 5million.

Instead of appearing in either Singapore or Hong Kong, however, the world number 19 flew back to Florida to spend time with his family.

Not that it was all rest and no play. He teamed up with Justin Rose for something called the Tyco Golf Skills Challenge and by winning it they earned almost 180,000.

"I struggle to be away from the kids for more than three or four weeks in a row," Hanson told Press Association Sport.

"They are two and six. They would be OK about it, but it's me. I don't think it's fair towards them and for me it's really hard.

"Also, if I'd gone to Singapore I think I would have struggled to do well this week and I've also committed to playing the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa next week."

It was at the Singapore Open that McIlroy sank a 30-foot eagle putt on the final green to get the third place needed to emulate the European and PGA Tour double first achieved by Luke Donald last year.

"The way he finished it off, he's just a class act," Hanson added. "I spoke to Justin (third on the standings) and with the gap it probably would have taken one of us to win and Rory to finish dead last.

"Sometimes you just have to take your hat off and the way he's played this year he's an outstanding world number one."

As first and second on the Tour rankings the pair will tee off together in the first round at the Earth course tomorrow - and that will bring back happy recent memories for Hanson.

It was the 23-year-old Northern Irishman he had to fight off last month to become BMW Masters champion in Shanghai.

"It was the biggest win of my career by far, playing against Rory at the weekend. He turned the heat up, but I had a bit of a cushion and it was nice to squeeze the win out.

"It's good fun to measure yourself against the best. That's always been one of my dreams and that's why it's so nice to be exempt for the majors and all the world events.

"When you're on the same stage you can compare yourself to all the top players.

"I've tried to pick his brain too. I've been a slow learner - it's taken me a while to reach the level I am at now and there are always things to learn."

Even though he did not win a point at the Ryder Cup and was unhappy to be left out of three of the four sessions on the first two days, Hanson has proved himself this year.

As well as the China win he also triumphed in Holland - with an eagle of his own on the last - and back in April he led the US Masters with a round to go and came third.

"I feel I'm now good enough to be up there in a big one. Even though I didn't win I was still pretty happy with how I handled being in contention.

"Hopefully if I get in the same position again I can do even better."

Like everybody else Hanson has five months to wait for the next Masters, but another chance to boost his confidence has now presented itself.

Even if he cannot catch McIlroy it is well worth finishing second on the money list. That would bring a bonus of nearly 410,000 and doing it by winning on Sunday would make his week's work worth almost 1.25million.