x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Thumbs up for Dubai World Championship

You had to look hard if you wanted to find any dissenting voices at the Earth course of the Jumeirah Golf Estates on Sunday.

Fans follow Lee Westwood during the second round of the Dubai World Championship.
Fans follow Lee Westwood during the second round of the Dubai World Championship.

You had to look hard if you wanted to find any dissenting voices at the Dubai World Championship on Sunday.

Even Ian Poulter had no complaints about the blunder that led to him dropping a crucial shot in the play-off.

In fact the taxi rank on Friday evening was just about the only place where the odd rumblings of discontent could be heard.

Bill Edwards, an Englishman on holiday, found "about 20 people" ahead of him in the queue at the end of the best attended of the tournament's four days. By the time he got a lift to his Dubai Marina base, he noticed there were double that number behind him.

"It spoiled my day a bit," he said on returning to the course for Sunday's final round. "I'd left my wife around the hotel pool and she was waiting for me at the dinner table when I got back. They should have been more aware of the need for taxis at the end of play."

Overseas journalists were also heard grumbling about the lack of progress with the Jumeirah Golf Estates infrastructure since their visit a year ago for the first conclusion to the Race to Dubai.

Wolfgang Scheffler, who writes for Frankfurter Allemagne, summed it up best. "The players must have felt like they were playing on a construction site without any construction going on," he said.

Those 60 players who had qualified for the end-of-season showpiece were not in complaining mood, though. Generally a happy bunch wherever they go on their travels, they were delighted to be part of the Tour finale.

Chubby Chandler, the golf management agent who had 12 of the competitors in his stable, could not find a complaint among his clients.

"There is no reason for any of them to speak badly about this event," he said. "They are playing for the biggest prize money that they compete for during the season and they are performing in such a fantastic place.

"The organisers have done well to get it through to this stage after the problems of last year and it's guaranteed for at least another year which is great news."

Colin Smith, who was a key figure in the Leisurecorp company which launched the tournament last year but is now a European Tour official at this event said: "We are delighted with the way it has gone. We've had tremendous support from all our sponsors and partners and the atmosphere has been fantastic.

"We are also extremely pleased with the state of the course, while the facilities for the players, the caddies and the media have been second to none.

"We are already looking forward to next year and we are optimistic we can look forward to staging this event here for years to come."

Nick Tarratt, the Dubai-based European Tour director, was also in celebratory mood after helping to guide the tournament through a spell of uncertainty sparked by the global financial crisis.

He pointed out that all 60 players who earned the right to travel to Dubai took their places on the Earth Course. "That endorses the level of support that we have on Tour for this event," he said.

George O'Grady, the Tour's chief executive, was also content with a job well done. "You will always be able to find little things that you can improve on. We will find those things and improve them. I don't think anybody could not be happy with this week."

Keith Waters, who is the Tour's director of international policy, added: "There are other territories that would like to have our end-of-season event but we feel very comfortable here."

wjohnson@thenational.ae