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European Tour reaffirms its commitment to Dubai
Alex Leach / 26 November 2012
The European Tour have reaffirmed their commitment to Dubai, the Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth course and the Race to Dubai (RTD) format after unveiling their 2013 international schedule on Sunday.
Next year’s tournament roster will feature a minimum of 45 competitions across four continents, with four of those contests combining to form ‘The Final Series’ – a fresh formula to the slightly revised RTD concept.
The race will still be run on a year-round basis, but there will be greater emphasis placed on the last three European Tour events prior to the US$8m DP World Championship here – the BMW Masters (US$7m), the WGC-HSBC Champions (US$8.5m) and the Turkish Open (US$7m) – with the total prize fund being a whopping US$30.5m.
Any European Tour member looking to reach the DP World Tour Championship will need to have played in two of those three preceding tournaments to qualify for the season finale with its lucrative RTD bonus pool.
Those participating in all three shall also receive a 20% bonus on their RTD points from those particular events, with that tally added to the respective players’ total prior to the DP World Tour Championship.
“This is an outstanding schedule for next year,” said the European Tour’s chief executive officer (CEO) George O’Grady.
“With the change that’s coming at the end of the year, it is slight tweaks – we’re not talking about big changes.
“We have taken account of all of the other comments that Rory has won the Race before he came into this week.
“But, if you think this is the fourth Race to Dubai that we have staged and each one has been won by the then-ranked world number one player. The world’s number one is winning The Race to Dubai and surely that’s the way it should be.
“There’s nothing too much wrong with the idea, but it’s got to be tweaked and we are looking at the bonuses.
“With the conditions in the finale at the end, you have to play two of these three tournaments, but – if you play all three – you get an uplift on the points.
“We have taken the opportunity over the last few weeks to talk it through with our leading players and their managers and a lot of them are excited about it. Even though it is a very crowded year towards the end, this gives it a great finale.”
Keith Waters, the European Tour’s Chief Operating Officer and Director of Internal Policy, added: “We cannot guarantee that there will definitely be something to play for here next year and we actually don’t want to because we feel if an individual actually plays incredibly well and much better than everybody else, he has the right to win the race earlier in the season.
“The last three preceding events are very high prize funds and – if somebody is focused on winning the race – he can obviously play all three and pick up a bonus.
“It’s possible that we come here again in a year’s time and someone has already won the race, but we believe that to be correct.
“That’s what sport is about and we don’t want to contrive the points to such a degree that it all comes down to the last nine holes.”
Meanwhile, O’Grady also stressed his satisfaction with Jumeirah Golf Estates — and the emirate at large — as the host venue.
“Everyone is delighted still to be playing in Dubai, where the weather conditions are perfect. The golf course this week has been in immaculate condition, made for attacking scoring, and the facilities here have all been outstanding.
“We have been heartened by this week. We have had record attendance this year at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
“There’s a big following of people that come to Dubai just to watch the tournament and enjoy Dubai at the same time.
“We feel we are contributing to the awareness of Dubai around the world and helping to keep it on the map.”
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