The 2018 Race to Dubai champion will be decided this week at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood can take the title.
DP World Tour Championship, Dubai Leaderboard, Preview, TV Times
The 2018 European Tour reaches its conclusion this week with the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. It’s the final Rolex Series event of the season and it will decide the outcome of the Race to Dubai.
At this stage only two players are in the running to win the 2018 Race to Dubai – 2017 winner Tommy Fleetwood and Open champion Francesco Molinari. The Italian leads the way by over a million points and, unless he has a terrible week in Dubai, he will most likely take the first prize.
Another battle being fought this week though is to make the top-10 on the Race to Dubai standings and, thereby, gain a share of the $5 million bonus pool. Eddie Pepperell is currently in 10th place but Lucas Bjerregaard and Tyrrell Hatton are hot on his heels.
The top-60 players on the Race to Dubai standings will tee it up this week although at this stage it looks like Hideto Tanihara in 62nd, Matthew Southgate in 63rd and Robert Rock in 64th will also make it in as replacements.
It’s a star-studded field at Jumeirah Estates – Americans Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele will tee it up, together with many of Europe’s best, including Molinari and Fleetwood, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Nedbank winner Lee Westwood and defending champion Jon Rahm.
This will be the 10th running of the DP World Tour Championships at Jumeirah Estates. Lee Westwood was the first champion back in 2009 and Robert Karlsson and Alvaro Quiros took victory in the next two instalments, Rory McIlroy won in 2012 and 2015 with Henrik Stenson taking the title in both 2013 and 2014. Matthew Fitzpatrick was champion in 2016 and Jon Rahm was the winner last season. The Spaniard finished one ahead of Shane Lowry and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
Greg Norman’s excellent design for the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates drew influence from the great parkland courses of Europe and North America. The layout features sprawling white bunkers, lakes and creeks, plus an abundance of indigenous flora. This is an extremely natural feeling course, blending beautifully into the surrounding environment.
The track is always presented in immaculate condition with wonderfully rolling fairways and contoured green complexes and it always receives high praise from the players.
The weather forecast is set fair – warm and sunny with not too much breeze to worry about. Scoring conditions should be good so look for a winning number close to the 20-under-par mark.
Venue: Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, UAE
Date: Nov 15-18
Course stats: par 72, 7,675 yards
Defending champion: Jon Rahm (-19)
How to watch the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai
Thursday 15 – Sky Sports Golf from 7am
Friday 16 – Sky Sports Golf from 7am
Saturday 17 – Sky Sports Golf from 7am
Sunday 18 – Sky Sports Golf from 6.30am
Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai?
Players to watch:
Sergio Garcia – He’s been playing great since the Ryder Cup. He won the Andalucia Valderrama Masters and was second last week to Lee Westwood.
Shane Lowry – Runner-up in this event last year, Lowry has been showing signs of returning to his best form of late. He was second at Valderrama and then played some good stuff to finish in the top-15 in Turkey.
Matt Wallace – Three times a winner this year, Wallace would love to close the season with a bang. He’s still playing well and was tied fifth last week.
Key hole: 18th. A long par 5 (over 600 yards) with water to the right from the tee and bunkers to the left. The second shot requires a decision – the fairway is split in two and you can either play to a generous landing area on the left leaving a longer and more difficult third, or go to the narrow lay-up area on the right leaving a more straightforward pitch. It’s a great tactical challenge.
Skills required: Finishing. The last four holes of the Earth Course are particularly testing. The 15th is a short yet strategically demanding par 4, then comes a tough and long par 4 where water lurks right, the 17th is an exciting par 3 where the players fire to an island green, the round culminates with the challenging par 5 as described above. Negotiating these closing holes is the key to success around the Earth Course.