With just four legs to be run in The 2010 Race to Dubai, Graeme McDowell’s victory in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters has set up a sprint finish with Martin Kaymer as the countdown to the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World continues.
McDowell’s battling victory at Valderrama saw him win €500,000 and halve Kaymer’s lead at the top of The Race to Dubai.
The German now leads the man from Northern Ireland by just over €500,000, but with US$23 million to be played for in China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai over the next month, McDowell can still catch Kaymer at the top of the rankings.
No matter what the outcome of this year’s Race to Dubai, it is fitting that the German and the Northern Irishman will be the main protagonists in the battle to succeed newly crowned World Number One Lee Westwood as The European Tour’s best player of 2010.
McDowell, who moved up to Number Ten on the Official World Golf Ranking on Sunday night, opened the floodgates to an unforgettable summer for The European Tour’s Membership by winning the US Open. He was swiftly followed into the Major Champions’ enclosure by Louis Oosthuizen at The Open, before Kaymer came good at the US PGA Championship.
Those Major successes set the tone for The European Team’s unforgettable Ryder Cup win, where Kaymer and McDowell played their part in Europe’s 14 ½ - 13 ½ victory.
McDowell, of course, brought home the vital winning point on Celtic Manor’s Twenty Ten Course, the venue where he won The Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open two weeks before his US Open success.
Now that he has added a third title in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, McDowell has a chance to catch Kaymer in The Race to Dubai, but he will have to produce more of that Valderrama magic to harbour a realistic chance of charging past a man of Kaymer’s class.
The 25 year old German has been in phenomenal form since his US PGA Championship win, adding the KLM Open and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship titles to his Major success. Kaymer also won the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship at the start of the year to underline his consistency throughout the entire year.
Given the performances of McDowell, Oosthuizen and World Number One Westwood – not to mention the likes of the Tour’s youngest ever winner, 17 year old Matteo Manassero; or the oldest player to win three events in one season, the 46 year old Miguel Angel Jiménez – it is amazing to think that one player would have a lead of over €500,000 with four tournaments to play.
But that is what Kaymer has managed to achieve in a truly memorable year that could yet see him take that coveted World Number One spot from his Ryder Cup partner Westwood as the second Race to Dubai nears its climax.
Note: The Race to Dubai on The 2010 European Tour International Schedule features 48 tournaments played at 26 destinations, culminating in the Dubai World Championship, presented by DP World, over the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
This second edition of The Race to Dubai carries a prize fund of $7.5 million and a Bonus Pool of $7.5 million to be divided between the leading 15 players at the conclusion of the season. The potential audience reach of The Race to Dubai events across the Tour’s global broadcast platforms encompasses almost 500,000 households (live/delayed transmissions); 218,000,000 (highlights) and around 350,000,000 via the weekly magazine show, European Tour Weekly.