Rolex Series

DP World Tour Championship - The Rolex Series years

The DP World Tour reaches its season finale this week as the DP World Tour Championship celebrates its sixth edition as a Rolex Series event.

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World Number One Rory McIlroy is one of several Major Champions, including fellow two-time event winners Jon Rahm and Matt Fitzpatrick, teeing it up at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

The lucrative DP World Tour Championship was first staged in 2009 and since 2017 has served as the culmination to the Rolex Series, the most prestigious events on the schedule.

Here, ahead of the 13th staging of the tournament, we look back at the players to have celebrated success on the Earth Course over the last five years.

2017 - Rahm caps exciting breakthrough season with Dubai triumph

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The Rolex Series marked a new era in the history of the DP World Tour and it was fitting that an emerging talent should be one of its earliest champions. Months after claiming his first Rolex Series title at the Irish Open – in what was just his second Tour event – Jon Rahm won his second title of the season to provide an early indication of the future success that was to come his way. Days after being named the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year, the precocious Spaniard shot a flawless five under par final round to finish one shot clear of Shane Lowry and Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The final round was full of intrigue and excitement, with Tommy Fleetwood narrowly edging out Justin Rose to win the Tour’s season-long rankings. Rahm’s title, achieved with four sub-70 rounds, saw him rise to fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking and helped him to automatically qualifying for Thomas Bjørn's European team at the 2018 Ryder Cup.

2018 – Willett returns to winner’s circle

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Danny Willett propelled himself to global stardom as he handed England its first champion at Augusta National in 20 years with victory at the Masters Tournament. Yet, despite that victory likely forever being known as the biggest of his career, his success at the DP World Tour Championship two years later might be remembered as his most significant. A loss in form combined with injuries had seen him fall outside the world’s top 450 earlier in the season, but he put that to the distant memory to claim his sixth DP World Tour title. Beginning the final round in Dubai in a share of the lead, Willett opened up a three-shot lead with an eagle on the par five second and a birdie on the seventh. After losing that advantage following bogeys on the 10th and 12th, Willett responded with aplomb as he birdied the 14th, 15th, and 17th, before he was fortunate to see his drive at the 18th finish just short of the creek which snakes its way up the middle of the hole to claim a two shot victory.

2019 - Rahm wins Dubai double

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The third season of the Rolex Series featured eight events, with Rahm returning to Dubai to claim his second DP World Tour Championship title. Coming into the season finale off a six-week break since victory in his national open, Rahm emerged at the top of the leaderboard as one of five players still in contention to win the Harry Vardon Trophy. A closing 68 saw the Spaniard finish one shot clear of Ryder Cup teammate Fleetwood, who was also bidding to win the season-long crown. Victory in the season finale and thereby the DP World Tour rankings appeared a formality when he surged into a six-shot lead through seven holes of the final round but by the time he reached the 18th his lead had vanished after a fast finish saw Fleetwood set the clubhouse target at 18 under. Needing a birdie to avoid a play-off, Rahm got up and down from a greenside bunker to make a closing birdie and emulate Seve Ballesteros as just the second winner of the Tour’s season-long rankings.

2020 - Fitzpatrick lifts first Rolex Series title

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A graduate of the Qualifying School in 2014, Fitzpatrick had since proven himself one of the most consistent performers on the DP World Tour. Already a winner of the season-ending tournament in 2016, one of five victories in his first four seasons, he ended a two-year wait for his sixth Tour title in 2020. At the start of the week, finishing top of the season-long rankings were a distant thought in 16th place. Yet, after beginning his final round with four birdies to forge a commanding lead, the prospect of emulating Rahm to claim a Dubai double was a distinct possibility. But at the end of a dramatic afternoon, Fitzpatrick finished one shot clear at the top of the leaderboard as he settled for the event victory which saw him return to the top 20 on the Official World Golf Ranking.

2021 - Morikawa becomes first American to win season-long crown

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We end our review of the past five winners of the DP World Tour Championship, with history-maker Collin Morikawa who became the first American to win the season-long rankings. In his first two years as a professional the former World Number One amateur golfer had already won two Major Championships on debut. Arriving at the DP World Tour’s season finale as the Champion Golfer of the Year, he finished his season in style with a Dubai double. Five birdies in his last seven holes of the final round saw him cap a magical campaign as he won his first Rolex Series title to be crowned Europe’s Number One. Despite a fine final-day push by defending champion Fitzpatrick, a closing bogey-free 66 saw Morikawa finish three shots clear of the Englishman and Swede Alexander Björk. In closing out victory, he also became the first player to ever win a Major, a WGC title, a Rolex Series event and the season-long rankings in the same campaign.

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