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.