DUBAI // Britain's Graeme McDowell all but gave up on his bid to win the European money-list on Saturday and quickly honed in on a new target -- reaching the top of the world rankings.
"Two or three years ago the number one seemed untouchable (for me)," the world number nine told reporters after a three-under-par 69 in the third round gave him a two-under aggregate of 214 at the Dubai World Championship.
"I believe if I work hard in the next few years I could be the best player in the world. That's become an achievable goal for me and something I am going to work hard towards."
McDowell, second in the European money-list and needing to overturn a deficit of 290,000 euros ($384,600) on Martin Kaymer in the season finale, has been left in the slipstream of the German who is contending right at the top of the leaderboard.
Up for grabs for Kaymer and McDowell, the only two players who can top the money-list, is a $1.26 million cheque for winning the tournament plus a $1.5 million bonus for finishing the season as Europe's number one.
"Barring the impossible I think Europe's number one is probably not a reality for me any more," said the Northern Irishman.
"I can certainly draw a line under it tomorrow in the last round and just put a nice end to what's been a fantastic year for me -- it's been amazing, the greatest season of my career.
"I tried my heart out the last couple of days but it didn't happen. Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and wave the white flag."
McDowell, winner of this year's US Open, Wales Open and Andalucia Masters and the man who gained the winning point for Europe at last month's Ryder Cup, just wanted the Greg Norman-designed Earth course here in Dubai to show him a little more love and affection.
"This course is not my cup of tea but you can't choose these courses," said the 31-year-old. "It is a course that also frustrated me last year and it's continued to frustrate me.
"The big issue is I haven't been able to hole any putts and without getting the putter working it is very difficult to get on top of the course.
"It has not shown me much love this week. That's life. Nothing to be ashamed of."
McDowell finally realised the money-list title was not coming his way early in the third round.
"I hit it nicely the first few holes but I three-putted the fourth, hit it to about eight feet at the next and missed and hit it to six feet at the next and missed.
"I was just waiting for a taxi to turn up and take me home at that point," said McDowell, laughing.