x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

A true challenge to world's best

The countdown to the 'Greatest Show on Earth' begins for championship carrying the richest purse in golf history.

The Race to Dubai got off to a promising start for Sergio Garcia as the Spaniard won the HSBC Championship earlier this month in Shanghai, China.
The Race to Dubai got off to a promising start for Sergio Garcia as the Spaniard won the HSBC Championship earlier this month in Shanghai, China.

William Johnson looks at the 'Greatest Show on Earth' as countdown begins for championship carrying the richest purse in golf history DUBAI // They are calling it "The Greatest Show on Earth" and with good reason, for not only will the Dubai World Championship carry the richest purse in golfing history at $US10million (Dh37m) but the showdown will take place on a desert oasis designed by the former world No 1 Greg Norman and christened Earth.

Earth is one of four exciting new courses being constructed at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai and it is now complete and lying fallow in readiness for the visit of 60 of the world's best golfers to compete for a record first prize of $2m in exactly a year from now. To mark the date of Nov 19, Norman has spoken in detail about the demanding closing stretch measuring 56 yards short of one mile that he has constructed to test the mental and physical ability of those who come in contention for the bumper prize on the final afternoon in 12 months' time.

Norman inspected his creation and reflected: "The Earth course I conceived almost four years ago is rapidly taking shape and is looking more championship-worthy each day. "I am delighted with the way the team at Jumeirah Golf Estates has realised the vision I had for Earth, which will provide the world's best with a true challenge and a fitting climax to The Race to Dubai." David Spencer, the chief executive (golf) at Leisurecorp, the Dubai company who are investing $100m over five years in the European Tour which they have renamed The Race to Dubai, said: "Earth is a tribute to Greg's attention to detail and the enthusiasm and expertise of the internationally assembled construction team."

wjohnson@thenational.ae