Rolex Series

DP World Tour Championship: 15 memorable moments ahead of milestone edition

As the 2023 DP World Tour season comes to a close this week with the 15th edition of the DP World Tour Championship, we go through the archive to recall some of the tournament’s most memorable moments.

Rahm makes history with Dubai hat-trick

Let’s start with this year’s defending champion.

Jon Rahm returns to the Earth Course this week 12 months on from becoming the first player to win five Rolex Series titles with a third victory at the DP World Tour Championship.

The result continued the Spaniard’s stellar record at Jumeirah Golf Estates' Earth Course, where he has finished no worse than a tie for fourth in his four visits.

Another victory this week would cap another stellar campaign for the 29-year-old, who played such a key role in Team Europe regaining the Ryder Cup last month.

Jon Rahm

Morikawa becomes America’s first Race to Dubai champion

Open champion, Ryder Cup winner and then the first American to finish a season as the DP World Tour's Number One player.

Already a two-time Major Champion, Collin Morikawa arrived at Jumeirah Golf Estates for the 2021 season climax top of the Race to Dubai but faced competition from five other players.

Trailing by three shots ahead of the final round, he showcased his world-class ability by making five birdies in his final seven holes to overhaul Rory McIlroy and win by three shots.

It was a third title of 2021 for the then history-making 24-year-old.

Collin Morikawa-1354651411

Stenson’s shot of the year seals Dubai double in 2013

Imagine hitting such a good shot that it is recognised with by a plaque.

Well, that was the case for Henrik Stenson as he won the 2013 DP World Tour Championship and a first Race to Dubai crown.

His victory was sealed in style, striking a three-wood from around 250 yards to tap-in range for a closing eagle to wrap up a flawless Sunday 64.

No wonder it was named the DP World Tour’s Shot of the Year.

Stenson plaque-459214886

Quiros’ electric eagle-winning finish

While it might not rank quite as high in terms of ways to win a tournament, holing a long-range eagle putt on the final green isn't far behind.

Heading the leaderboard going into the final round in 2011, Alvaro Quiros was involved in a final-round battle with 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie.

With a one-shot lead coming down the 72nd hole, the Spaniard found the final green in two before holing from 40 feet. His reaction was one of unrestrained jubilation as he pumped his fist amid the roars of the watching crowd.

With his victory, he made history by becoming the first player to win three different DP World Tour events in the desert, following on from triumphs in Qatar and at the Dubai Desert Classic.


DP World Tour Championship forms part of newly announced Rolex Series

Ever since 2017, the DP World Tour Championship has marked the culmination of the Rolex Series.

Recognised as one of the Tour’s biggest advancements in its 50 year history, the initiative has elevated leading tournaments into unmissable sporting occasions.

While much of the pre-tournament focus ahead of the season finale’s status as a Rolex Series event centred around the Race to Dubai duel between Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose, it was to be Rahm that capped a remarkable ascension in European golf by winning the event for the first time.

Lowry’s first hole-in-one as a pro

The number 13 is lucky for some.

That certainly proved to be the case for Shane Lowry when he made his first hole-in-one as a professional at the 13th hole during the second round of the 2014 season finale.

Playing alongside his good friend Rory McIlroy, the Irishman held his arms aloft after watching his tee shot with a six iron from 183 yards pitch just short of the hole before rolling into the cup for an ace.

Lowry went on to finish in fifth place and break into the world’s top 50 for the first time.

The McIlroy hat-trick

The famous Earth course has proved to be a happy hunting ground for McIlroy.

Last year, the Northern Irishman claimed his fourth Harry Vardon Trophy with a fourth-place finish in Dubai. It was the first time he had topped the Rankings since 2015.

But, perhaps most significantly, it saw him become European Number One, World Number One and FedExCup Champion at the same point for the first time in his distinguished career.

Rory McIlroy

Willett ends long wait for win

"It's been a hell of a lot of work. It's just nice to be back,” said an emotionally drained Danny Willet after returning to the winner’s circle for the first time since the 2016 Masters with his victory in Dubai in 2018.

Despite winning his first Major at Augusta National just two years previously, the Englishman had slipped from a career-high of ninth in the rankings to outside the top 450 because of numerous injuries and a loss of form.

But a closing 68 sealed a redemptive two-shot victory later that year in the season finale.

It could have been so different though, with his tee shot at the final hole on the final day just stopping short of a stream.

Willett Earth course-1063170638

Molinari wins Race to Dubai to cap career-best year

The same edition saw Francesco Molinari crowned Race to Dubai champion for the first time.

It was deserved recognition for a golfer who was performing at the top of his game.

Earlier that year, the Italian won his first Major at The Open, either side of success at the prestigious BMW PGA Championship and being part of the first Team Europe partnership ever to win four out of four games alongside Tommy Fleetwood in the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National.

Molinari DPWTC-1063173524

Lia wins first G4D Tour title at season finale in Dubai

As the European Tour group celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022, one of its most inspiring and innovative initiatives made its debut at the DP World Tour Championship.

The inaugural season of the G4D Tour, an international schedule of events featuring the leading disability players in the world, drew to a close over the Earth Course.

It saw Sweden’s Rasmus Lia, who suffered multiple serious injuries in a ski crash as a junior, claim his first G4D Tour title with a four-shot victory over runners-up Chris Biggins and Kurtis Barkley.

Rahm emulates Seve after dramatic Dubai finish

In 2019, Rahm became the second Spaniard after the late Seve Ballesteros to win the DP World Tour’s season-long race as he claimed a one-shot victory over Tommy Fleetwood for his second DP World Tour Championship title.

After opening up a six-shot lead through seven holes of the final round, he faltered before birdieing the last to avoid a play-off with his Ryder Cup teammate.

The victory, his sixth in his first 15 Tour starts, saw Rahm climb to third in the world and continue his rapid rise to global prominence.

Rahm DPWTC 2019-1189746163

Fitzpatrick wins big

Three DP World Tour titles inside 13 months. Not bad going to say the least.

Victory at the 2016 DP World Tour Championship saw Matt Fitzpatrick become the youngest Englishman to claim three Tour titles, taking that record from a certain Sir Nick Faldo.

In securing a one-shot victory in Dubai thanks to an assured up-and-down from a greenside bunker on the 72nd hole, the then 22-year-old won the biggest title of his career to date.

We all know what he has since gone on to achieve in the game, including a Major victory and success at the season-ending event for a second time in 2020.

Fitzpatrick 2016-624564272

Karlsson beats Poulter in play-off

Since the tournament’s inception, there has only been one edition determined by a play-off.

That came in 2010 when Robert Karlsson defeated Ian Poulter with a birdie on the second extra hole after coming from three shots back heading into the final round.

It saw the Swede record multiple victories in the same DP World Tour season for the third time, following 2006 and 2008 – when he finished the season as European Number One.

McIlroy wins Race to Dubai after Sullivan showdown

McIlroy finished an injury-affected season on a high in 2015 by emulating Stenson as a two-time winner of the DP World Tour Championship.

A closing 66 helped the Northern Irishman get the better of overnight leader Andy Sullivan and win the Race to Dubai for a third time, after securing the honour in 2012 and 2014.

The outcome of the tournament was very much in doubt when he found water with his tee shot at the par-three 17th, before limiting the damage to a bogey by holing a 40-foot putt.

That gave him a one-shot lead going down the last which he preserved as both he and Sullivan made a par.


Westwood crowned inaugural champion in Dubai

The DP World Tour held its season finale outside of Europe for the first time at Jumeirah Golf Estates in 2009.

Lee Westwood secured his status as European Number One for the second time in his career with victory at the inaugural DP World Tour Championship.

A closing 64 over the Earth Course sealed the then 36-year-old's six-shot victory – his second win on Tour that season on the newly named Race to Dubai.

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