The European Tour’s ‘Race to Dubai’ concludes in November when the top 60 players in the rankings go head-to-head for the DP World Tour Championship.
With the top 15 ranked players players sharing a prize fund of $5million, along with the $8million available from the final tournament, there is plenty to play, although Rory McIlroy seems certain a to secure his second ‘Race to Dubai’ title with a dominant lead in the rankings.
The 25-year-old sits comfortably at the top of the table with more than double the prize money of those chasing him.
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There is still plenty of motivation for the top players, however, as a higher finish in the tournament will of course mean a bigger share of both prize funds. Thomas Bjorn, Sergio Garcia & Jamie Donaldson have enjoyed great season’s along with last year’s winner Henrik Stenson.
The Swedish star sits comfortably inside the top 10 but has achieved less than half of last year’s income.
Ian Poulter, meanwhile, was second in the Race to Dubai and DP World Tour Championship leaderboards last year but is struggling to make the top 60 one year on. The 38-year-old, a wildcard selection at the Ryder Cup, collected over three million points last year but has less than 500,000 this season. Niggling injuries and inconsistent form have hampered his season but a good Ryder Cup performance could translate into a strong finish to the year.
Justin Rose, Stephen Gallacher, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood will also feature and are all in contention to finish amongst the top 15. McIlroy is almost guaranteed to win the Race to Dubai while a strong performance from Garcia should secure a runner-up spot for the Spaniard.
There is little between Bjorn, Donaldson Stenson, Rose and Kaymer, however, and a good, or bad, performance in Dubai could seriously impact their final income.
Stenson was in fine form in Dubai last year and he became the first player to win the FedEx Cup Series on the US PGA Tour and The Race to Dubai in the same season. He has enjoyed another consistent season this year, with top five finishes in the US PGA Championship, US Open, BMW International Open and Nordea Masters. The 38-year-old, however, has failed to win a European Tour competition this year and although he will probably be in the mix again in November, he may fall short once again.
We all know McIlroy is capable of claiming the victory, with four European Tour victories so far this season, but he will need to be at his best in the Middle East. Garcia has finished runner-up to the Northern Irish star in both the WGC Bridgestone Invitational and the 143rd Open Championship.
The 34-year-old also won the Commerical Bank Qatar Masters in January, but that has been his only European Tour victory this year. Finishing runner-up to McIlroy twice already, and almost certain to finish behind the star in the Race to Dubai rankings, Garcia will no doubt be to determined to get one victory over his rival this year.
Bjorn, Kaymer, Stenson and Rose should be in the mix too while the in-form Donaldson could be a good bet each-way. The Welshman secured his spot at the Ryder Cup with victory in the Czech Masters in August.
Under pressure, the 38-year-old kept his nerve and delivered a superb performance to secure his third European Tour victory. The Pontypridd-born star should head into the competition with sky high confidence and an each-way bet could be tempting.
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