Rory McIlroy's lack of majors over the past five years means world number one Brooks Koepka does not view him as a rival.
Matthew Southgate ran him close, but Victor Perez would not be denied at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
A three-time Race to Dubai champion, Rory McIlroy is not anticipating winning it for a fourth time after his FedEx Cup success.
England's Danny Willett showed he is back to his best by landing the BMW PGA Championship title ahead of a star-studded field at Wentworth.
Jon Rahm again came up with the goods at the 18th despite an awful drive, ensuring Danny Willett was joined in the lead again.
World number two Rory McIlroy left himself with no room for error on Friday at Wentworth, moving just above the cut line.
While Rory McIlroy struggled in his first round, Matt Wallace dazzled in familiar surroundings to lead by one at Wentworth.
A return of the skins format will see Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama face off in Japan next month.
Rory McIlroy was hailed as a "model of consistency" after the Northern Irishman landed the Jack Nicklaus Award for a third time.
After losing in a five-man play-off in Switzerland, FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy said: "I'm looking forward to a couple of weeks off."