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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Justin Rose: Race to Dubai rival Sergio Garcia deserves Golfer of the Year award

Rose and Garcia went toe-to-toe at the US Masters in April and are among the front-runners to claim the season-ending European Tour title in Dubai.

Justin Rose, left, and Sergio Garcia are the only other players in it to win it. Andrew Redington / Getty Images
Justin Rose, left, and Sergio Garcia are the only other players in it to win it. Andrew Redington / Getty Images

US Masters champion Sergio Garcia deserves to be named European Tour Golfer of the Year according to Justin Rose, one of the Spaniard's main competitors for the honour.

Garcia is the standout favourite to win the award, which will be presented at the end of the European Tour season, for the first time on the back on his Masters play-off victory over Rose earlier this year at Augusta National.

Garcia won the Masters following his triumph at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February, in what was his first tournament of 2017. The Spaniard confirmed last month that he will return to the Emirates Golf Club next year to defend his title.

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Garcia earned his third title of the year at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters last month, a tournament his foundation hosted.

Rose is well placed to finish top of the Race to Dubai money list but even if he achieves that, he believes Garcia would still be more deserving of the European golfer accolade.

"We all aspire to end a season being awarded the Golfer of the Year title but given Sergio has won three times on the European Tour this year and one of those was a Major Championship, then he must be favourite," Rose said.

"Sergio's season has been the highest of the highs given he won a first Major in his career and he would be my own choice for Golfer of the Year."

Englishman Rose tees-up in this week's $7 million (Dh25.7m) Turkish Airlines Open having captured a first Tour title in two years last Sunday in Shanghai.

The effort took world No 6 Rose to third on the Race to Dubai standings but still just over two million points behind compatriot Tommy Fleetwood, with Garcia second some 800,000 points adrift of Fleetwood.

However, Garcia is not competing this week while both the Spaniard and Rose have elected to skip next week's Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, the Tour's penultimate event.

Rose won the Race to Dubai title in 2007 while Fleetwood's prior best finish was 19th in 2014. Garcia's best was third in 1999.

Fleetwood, who has played around twice as many tournaments as Rose and Garcia this season, will contest all three remaining European Tour events, including the season-closing DP World Tour Championship commencing November 16th in Dubai.