x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Race to Dubai extended to 2011 season

The Dubai World Championship also stays bringing relief for officials at the European Tour given the economic climate.

DUBAI // Fears over the future of the Dubai World Championship and the Race to Dubai have been assuaged after organisers confirmed the event will take place for a third successive year in 2011.

European Tour officials were anxious over the longevity of their flagship competitions when they were put in jeopardy by the financial difficulties encountered by Nakheel, the original backers, through their golfing arm of Leisurecorp.

Promotion of the two events has now passed to the Tour itself and Nick Tarratt, the Dubai-based director, will oversee the staging of the seasonal finale at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 25-29.

"Everything is guaranteed and underwritten for 2010 and 2011," Tarratt said.

"Ensuring that both events will run for three years enables us to declare them a success which we are delighted to do. It would be even better if we could get the tournament and the Race committed to the calendar for longer and we are already in discussions with relevant parties in the hope of achieving that objective.

"Potential backers have seen the two events prove to be a winning model which has showcased Dubai for the entire year.

"So it would be nice if more of them came in to help us get it on a longer-term footing than the current three-year agreement."

The Dubai World Championship offers a total prize pool of US$7.5m (Dh27,546m) to the 60 European Tour players who qualify through their positions in the year-long Race to Dubai which also offers $7.5m in bonuses to those who finish in the top 15 on the money list.

Presented by DP World, the tournament is supported by various other sponsors, including The National through Abu Dhabi Media Company.

"The event created a lot of attraction last year in its inaugural year," Colin Smith, who used to work for Leisurecorp but has now been signed up by the European Tour as a director of the DWC," said. "And we've been able to market that success. I'm just happy to be part of a team which is hoping to build on what was a fantastic inaugural year for the tournament.

"We have got many of the same team from Europe coming here to organise it. We are expecting everybody to work as well together this year as they did last year to put on another world class event."

Large galleries are still expected on all four days of the tournament despite the fear that Martin Kaymer could have the Race to Dubai wrapped up beforehand.

"It would be a pity if the Race to Dubai was settled before the Tour concludes here in Dubai but it can't be helped if that proves to be the case," Tarratt said.

"It would be a testament to how well Martin Kaymer has been playing in the second half of the year.

"It has been a brilliant year for European Tour golf that we have three major champions [Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Louis Ooosthuizen] in our field for the DWC.

"Perhaps we will have the world's No 1 and No 2 and the entire winning European Ryder Cup team.

"So in a fantastic year for European golf it would be a remarkable achievement if somebody like Kaymer could clinch victory in the Race before it got to its final stage in Dubai."

wjohnson@thenational.ae