DUBAI // European Tour officials are confident the introduction of “The Final Series” to next season’s schedule will maintain the Race to Dubai’s success, calling it a “cleaner” conclusion to the campaign than the US PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Series.
The DP World Tour Championship will provide the culmination of a new climax to the year, with three lucrative stops preceding the contest at Jumeirah Golf Estates and forming a four-tournament finale.
From 2013, the countdown to the Earth Course begins at the BMW Masters in Shanghai on October 24, with the WGC-HSBC Champions and the inaugural Turkish Open – all 78-man fields – acting as precursors to the season-ending battle in Dubai.
The Final Series will offer a total prize fund of US$30.5 million (Dh112m). However, in an ploy to ensure the strongest possible fields, players will be eligible for the DP World Tour Championship only if they compete in two of the first three events. Anyone participating in all three will have their Race to Dubai points augmented with a 20 per cent bonus. The top 60 in the standings then qualify for Dubai.
George O’Grady, the chief executive of the European Tour, said: “The Final Series will bring even more drama and excitement to the conclusion of our season and further enhance the Race to Dubai”.
He added: “The response from our leading players has been extremely encouraging and we take confidence from their support as we look to continue the positive evolution of the European Tour in an extremely challenging economic climate.”
O’Grady acknowledged criticism in some corners that Rory McIlroy secured the Race to Dubai title with two events to spare, but he said the world No 1 was a deserved victor, and that if such a scenario happens again next season the tour would not have a problem with it.
“We did examine the FedEx Series proposal and whether we imitated the PGA Tour, but our system is cleaner,” he said. “The world’s No 1 player is winning the Race to Dubai. That’s the way it should be.”
The European Tour confirmed the DP World Tour Championship will remain on the Earth Course for the next two years, at least, while it is hoping to add by next week another three tournaments to the 2013 schedule.
The Singapore Open, where McIlroy sealed this season’s crown, is not on next year’s roster, while the Hong Kong Open, usually the last event before Dubai, shifts to December 2013, as one of the opening tournaments on the 2014 schedule.
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