The 2013 Race to Dubai is back in South Africa after the Desert Swing in the early stages of a golfing odyssey that will traverse the globe as it builds towards the exciting new climax of ‘The Final Series’.
The European Tour International Schedule featuring 46 tournaments across 25 countries will conclude with four tournaments – the US$7 million BMW Masters, the US$8.5 million WGC – HSBC Champions, the US$7 million Turkish Open and the US$8 million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai – which combine for ‘The Final Series’ offering a prize fund of US$30.5million.
Any European Tour Member hoping to qualify for the for the DP World Tour Championship – and therefore earn a chance to compete for The Race to Dubai $3.75 million Bonus Pool – will have to participate in two of the three events preceding the season finale. This regulation only applies to those Members who are eligible for all three at the close of entries.
Furthermore, at the conclusion of the Perth International Championship The Race to Dubai will be converted to a points table with €1 equalling 1 point. This will allow for a 20 per cent “points” bonus to be awarded to any player who plays all the first three events of ‘The Final Series’. The bonus will be added to the respective players’ points totals prior to the start of the DP World Tour Championship, potentially improving their chance of either winning The Race to Dubai or increasing their share of the Bonus Pool.
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “The Introduction of ‘The Final Series’ and the associated changes to the structure will bring even more drama and excitement to the conclusion of our season, and further enhance The Race to Dubai.”
The Final Series kicks off with the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, China, from October 24-27 – the third BMW title sponsored event of the season after the BMW PGA Championship, at Wentworth Club in May, and the BMW International Open, in Munich in June.
The BMW Masters was won last year by Swedish Ryder Cup player Peter Hanson, and the 2013 field will be made up of 78 players comprising the top 60 in the World Rankings, 14 players from the Chinese Golf Association, three tournament invites and the balance from The 2013 Race to Dubai.
Eckhard Wannieck, Head of Sponsoring, Co-operations and Product Placement BMW, said: “Last year’s inaugural BMW Masters tournament at the Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai exceeded even our own expectations – it provided a fantastic advertisement for the sport of golf as well as the BMW brand in the dynamically expanding Chinese market. We also welcome The European Tour’s newly-created ‘The Final Series’ as the climax to the season; it underlines the elevated status of the BMW Masters and our role as one of the leading partners in golf worldwide. A prize fund of US$7 million makes the BMW Masters one of the most lucrative international sporting events on the calendar. As The Race to Dubai enters the home straight, the tournament will play a key role in determining who finishes the season at the top of the rankings. This is a major sporting feather in the BMW Masters’ cap.”
The following week ‘The Final Series’ moves across Shanghai to Sheshan International Golf Club for the WGC – HSBC Champions from October 31 – November 3, the second HSBC title sponsored event of the year after the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. The final World Golf Championship of the season counts towards both The Race to Dubai and the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup for the first time. The field of 78 players features the current Major and WGC champions and champions from the other leading tournaments scheduled across all the Federated Tours. The top 50 from the World Ranking qualify, as do the leading five players not otherwise exempt from both The 2013 Race to Dubai and Fedex Cup and six players from the Chinese Golf Association. Last year’s title went to another Ryder Cup winner, Ian Poulter.
Giles Morgan, HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship and Events, said: “The WGC-HSBC Champions is our flagship event and one of the things we’re most proud of is the qualification criteria with the majority of the field qualifying only by winning a key tournament on their Tours or by being ranked in the top 50. This absolutely guarantees we’ll have a glittering array of golfing talent in Shanghai and the fact the players will also be battling it out for The Final Series adds even greater lustre to what promises to be a thrilling climax to the season.”
Guy Kinnings, Global Head of IMG Golf - the tournament promoters, added: “When we first staged the HSBC Champions in 2005, HSBC and IMG were well aware of the ever-growing importance of Asia on the global golf map and we are delighted at the stature the tournament now holds in the worldwide schedule today.”
The Turkish Open from November 7-10 is a new event on The European Tour International Schedule and takes place at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Antalya. The introduction of the event to The European Tour follows an exhibition last year when Justin Rose, another of Europe’s Ryder Cup heroes, triumphed. The top 50 in the World Ranking, five tournament invites and the balance from The 2013 Race to Dubai will make up the field of 78.
Ahmet Agaoglu, the President of the Turkish Federation, said: “We are honoured to host the first European Tour event in Turkey and especially delighted to have secured a prime date on the schedule. The venues and coastline of southern Turkey provide an ideal destination for international events and tourists alike."
Andrew Chandler, of promoters International Sports Management, added: "The Turkish Open, positioned in the penultimate week of the Race to Dubai and played on a great golf course, will attract an exceptionally strong field as the anticipation at the tail end of the season grows."
These three events build towards the thrilling climax to ‘The Final Series’ at the DP World Tour Championship, from November 14-17. Last year, World Number One Rory McIlroy crowned a phenomenal season, during which he won both The Race to Dubai and the US PGA Tour Money List, by birdieing the last five holes of the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates to take the title. Once again the top 60 players in The Race to Dubai after the Turkish Open will be eligible for the season finale.
Mohammed Sharaf, Group CEO DP World, said: “We are delighted to be entering our fifth year supporting the Tour, and the second year as the title sponsor of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship. Last year will be a tough act to follow with Rory having secured the double in such style, and we look forward to seeing how this year’s Race to Dubai season develops and the impact of The Final Series. With all 60 of the top European Tour players earning a place in Dubai, it is certain to be a thrilling climax to the season.”