The Race to Dubai – European Tour 2009

This year’s European Tour will end in November with the much talked about Race to Dubai.  The Eurpoean Tour have been promoting the Race To Dubai as a new prestigious event with $20 million prize money.

That sounds a lot of money for one single event, but not when you consider the most anyone player will receive is $3.6 million, $6 million  less than the winner of the FedEx Cup.  Furthermore, there will only actually be $10 million prize money for the event.

Yes its more prize money than any other European Tour event but it hasn’t managed to convince too many top PGA Tour players to sign up for the European Tour.

The Race To Dubai, or to use its official title, the Dubai World Championship will be contested by 60 golfers. They will play for a total of $10 million while a further $10 million will be shared between the top 15 European Tour players.  This will replace the Order of Merit prize money.

The Race to Dubai was promoted in such a way to attract more top PGA golfers.  But Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, among other top American golfers, have declined to take full European Tour membership (a Race To Dubai requirement).

Other PGA Tour players like Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas have taken up “Affiliated Membership” of the European Tour which means, for a minimal fee, they are eligible to obtain seven invitations to European Tour sanctioned events and, more importantly, they are not subject to the 12-event minimum required by full members.

The European Tour believes the Race to Dubai will grow in popularity and will eventually lead to more Americans joining the European Tour.

That said, Dubai certainly has the potential and money to attract the world’s best golfers.  Tiger Woods has designed his first golf course there; and there’s already talk of Dubai hosting the Ryder Cup as early as 2018.

Personally, I think the 2009 Race to Dubai will be used as a platform for bigger and better things to come.  But if The European Tour wants to include the very best players on the PGA Tour, they will simply have to make it easier to enter or raise the stakes.

3 thoughts on “The Race to Dubai – European Tour 2009”

  1. My god! is it true that it is going to be a 20 million prize money? If this happens in Dubai at all, I bet it will be broadcast with such a prestigious price. I’ll be watching for it if it happens to push through. Me and my father have long been fanatics of golf tours and we haven’t seen one from Dubai so I guess this is the perfect time.

  2. Considering Tiger Woods’ stakes in Dubai I will not be surprised if he gets a special sponsor exemption or some other fancy exemption to play in what promises to be the most interesting tournament of the season. I think a lot of people expected that kind of prize money in an event on European soil or perhaps in America but to see that in a place like Dubai is obviously a big surprise.

    But I think the draw of the tournament is not the fact that it is the richest tournament in the world. Well, initially it was but then now that they have planned to make the Players Championship a ten million dollar event, it takes away a bit of the sheen from the Dubai World Championship.

    One important distinction we need to make is that the FedEx Cup prize money for the winner is for his performance through the season and not for a single tournament unlike the Dubai World Championship which awards the winner for his performance in a single tournament.

    And trust me, in a few years time, a lot more players from the PGA Tour will look to play the minimum number of events required to be considered a European Tour member.

    Play Well

    Andy Brown

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