Here are five things to keep a look out for as the 2020 Race to Dubai comes to an end at the final Rolex Series event of the year, the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
The final Rolex Series event of 2020
The fourth Rolex Series event of 2020 will take place on the Earth Course at Jumeriah Golf Estates this week, marking the 38th and final event on the 2020 Race to Dubai.
The European Tour’s season finale features a 65-man field, who will battle it out for the 12,000 Race to Dubai points and a prize fund of US$8million. This week’s winner will take home a US$3million first prize and 2,000 Race to Dubai points, which will be a deciding factor in the race to become European Number One.
The Race is on
The race to be crowned European Number One will come to an end on Sunday afternoon. With 2,000 Race to Dubai points available to the winner and the player finishing last receiving 30, mathematically any of the leading 60 available players on the Race to Dubai rankings, plus Joost Luiten in 72nd position, could become Race to Dubai Champion with victory in the DP World Tour Championship.
Patrick Reed heads in to the final event at the top of the rankings as he bids to become the first American winner of the Race to Dubai, and is one of four players who could guarantee they become champion with a victory at the DP World Championship. Fellow American and PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa, who currently sits in third place, could also achieve the feat on his tournament debut this week. English pair Tommy Fleetwood and Lee Westwood, who are in second and fourth place respectively, could also win the title. Both players have claimed the Race to Dubai before, with Fleetwood earning the honour in 2017, and Westwood winning the title in 2000, and again in 2009. Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Victor Perez, Aaron Rai and Tyrrell Hatton could be crowned Race to Dubai Champion with victory, provided Reed doesn’t finish second alone.
Who is in the running to win European Tour Rookie of the Year?
The 2020 Rookie of the Year award will be decided by a committee comprising two members of the Tournament Committee and two members of the Tour’s Executive following the end of the DP World Tour Championship. This is due to the unforeseen impact of Covid-19, which includes lower Race to Dubai points being available, members in the U.S. not travelling to events as intended due to quarantine issues, the repositioning of Major Championships and the revision of the qualification process into the U.S. Open, all of which have impacted on the opportunities for a broad range of members.
At the forefront of the race are four rookies who have claimed victories this season. Rasmus Højgaard, who is currently ranked 13th in the standings, earned the first of two titles in just his fifth start at the AFRASIA Bank Mauritius Open, which he then followed with a second win at the ISPS HANDA UK Championship in September. Sami Välimäki (ranked 18th) also made a quick start to his year with a win in his sixth start in a play-off at the Oman Open, while Collin Morikawa (3rd) claimed his first Major at the PGA Championship. Last week, Antoine Rozner (24th) earned his maiden victory at the inaugural Golf in Dubai Championship, becoming the fastest French player to earn a victory on the European Tour.
Challenge Tour Graduate of the Year
Each year, one player from the previous season’s Challenge Tour graduates is recognised with the Graduate of the Year award and the race is still on to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Robert MacIntyre.
Antoine Rozner’s maiden Tour victory during last week’s Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World marked the 495th win on the European Tour by a former Challenge Tour winner and moved him up to 24th in the Race to Dubai standings.
He’s currently the highest-placed graduate from the Class of 2019 heading into the final event of the season but will battle with Connor Syme for the award after the Scot earned his way into the field through a top 10 at last week’s South Africa Open
Paying Tribute to the Voice of Golf
Black ribbons will be available for players and caddies to wear in memory of eight-time former Ryder Cup player and legendary commentator Peter Alliss, known as the Voice of Golf, who died on Saturday December 5, aged 89.
Peter was given Honorary Life Membership of the European Tour in 2003 and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012.