Big plans afoot as Dubai's DP World Tour Championship edges closer

Chris Bailey 23/10/2017
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There are just three weeks to go before the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour’s flagship events, lands on these shores.

As the Race to Dubai reaches its exciting conclusion Sport360° caught up with Nick Tarratt, director of the European Tour’s international office, to check in on preparations at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

How is the planning going for the 2017 DP World Tour Championship?

With just three weeks to go until the players arrive in Dubai all is taking shape.

This is the ninth time the tournament has taken place in the same venue at Jumeirah Golf Estates, but there are always new challenges every hour of every day.

We start planning more than 12 months out and it is very important that there are new features and activities every year – there is no room for complacency.

I have always felt the toughest time for planning is in March time prior to a tournament. It is too far away to get involved with the planning, sponsors have other priorities – but arguably too late to arrange the commercial aspects.

We are excited to announce a new sponsor this year in HERO, who are both a sponsor partner as well as sponsors of the HERO Challenge, that will involve a dedicated programme distributed around the world through TV and social media.

From day one we have tried to make this a genuine Dubai event, organised by Dubai in Dubai for Dubai, the UAE and the world.

The DP World Tour Championship is arguably one of the top 20 most important golf tournaments in the world – Dubai should be rightfully proud of this achievement.

How is the funding arranged for the tournament?

Being a Dubai event it receives tremendous support from Dubai entities, government and private organisations.

DP World are a great model. Through their title sponsorship of the DP World Tour Championship we are able to activate DP World/European Tour initiatives in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Turkey, China, Wentworth in England as well as the United States of America.

This is done through tournament partnerships, on-course banners, Pro-Am teams, player engagement and corporate hospitality. Emirates are a similar proposition.

How is the Race to Dubai being activated these days?

The Race to Dubai is the season long initiative on the European Tour International Schedule that involves 47 tournaments in 27 destinations. With the recent buy-in from government of Dubai entities we are very proud of the enhanced exposure of the Race to Dubai this season.

Activation has taken place at key tournaments hosted in key territories for Dubai, both business and for tourism, as well as, of course, high profile new presence at both the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the DP World Tour Championship.

This additional funding will see a genuine increase in revenues and a return on investment for the Race to Dubai.

How does the tournament benefit the host venue at Jumeirah Golf Estates?

The mantra for the European Tour is to play where the pros play so being the host for the DP World Tour Championship on Earth course will equate to a spike in interest in playing this course, having seen the world’s finest play, either in person or on TV.

In addition we have a long-term European Tour relationship with Jumeirah Golf Estates that is already 10 years old.

Real estate will, once again, be a focus for this year’s DP World Tour Championship with special promotions and offers available specifically throughout the tournament week at the Jumeirah Golf Estates exhibition facility in the Championship Village. Further announcements will be forthcoming in a couple of week’s time.

The DP World Tour Championship is once more a free entry event to attract a crowd of both golfers and non-golfers. To register for Free Fast Track Entry visit www.dpwtc.com.

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Tyrrell Hatton on the march in Race To Dubai standings after historic Alfred Dunhill Links Championship victory

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Can Hatton secure a Dubai place?

Tyrrell Hatton made a timely charge in the Race to Dubai as the countdown to the season-ending US$8 million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai begins after becoming the first man to successfully defend the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The 25-year-old Englishman carded a flawless final round 66 to finish three shots ahead of fellow countryman Ross Fisher at the Old Course, St Andrews to claim 676,132 points and take himself from 33rd to 11th place in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings.

The result sees Hatton’s season tally swell to 1,452,782 points, positioning himself nicely to secure a top ten berth going in to the DP World Tour Championship which takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 16-19.

Hatton came in to the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with a healthy five shot lead but experienced an early hiccup when he put his approach on the opening hole in to the Swilcan Burn. However, a superb chip in for par after taking a drop saw him start a golden run on the front nine as he went on to birdie the next four holes to open up a seven-shot lead over the field.

In the end the man from Buckinghamshire held off an impressive late charge from Fisher to finish on 24 under par.

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“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Hatton, who becomes just the fourth man after Curtis Strange, Trevor Immelman and Thongchai Jaidee to successfully defend a trophy for his first two wins.

“It felt so much harder than last year, maybe that’s just a bit more pressure on myself but I’m so happy that I managed to defend it and what a great week again.

“I think the format is helping me, playing with Jamie (Dornan) we had good fun out there and it sort of keeps me relaxed which is what I need to do. We’ve just had good fun, I think that is what this tournament is about.”

Runner-up Fisher also wrote his name in to the history books on the final day at St. Andrews as he broke the Old Course record with a blistering round of 11 under par 61. The result sees him move from ninth to sixth in the Race to Dubai rankings as he picks up 450,752 points to improve his season-tally to 1,936,014.

Meanwhile Victor Dubuisson’s third place finish in Scotland means he’s now only one good finish from securing his place in next month’s season finale. The Frenchman picked up an invaluable 253,955 points to jump from 122nd to 63rd spot in the Race to Dubai rankings.

His fellow countryman Grégory Bourdy also did his chances of securing a spot among the Race to Dubai’s top 60 on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates by finishing in a tie for fourth at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. The result means he now moves from 90th to 62nd place with a season tally of 521,453 points.

A top five finish for Scotland’s Marc Warren sees him break in to the top 60 in the Race to Dubai rankings. He’s now in 56th spot after picking up 172,278 for his tied fourth place finish.

Another man who also made significant strides up the season rankings is Robert Rock. The Englishman also finished in a tie for fourth to pick up 172,278 points and catapult himself from 102nd to 66th in the Race to Dubai rankings with a season tally of 498,209 points.

However after an outing which included a course record 63 at Carnoustie, it’s still Englishman Tommy Fleetwood who remains at the head of the rankings with 3,807,265 points, whilst Spaniard Sergio Garcia is in second with a season-tally of 2,799,255 points and his young compatriot Jon Rahm sits in third spot on 2,761,857.

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Paul Dunne targets top ten finish in Race to Dubai rankings after securing British Masters title

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Paul Dunne.

Paul Dunne has given himself a superb chance of entering the season-ending DP World Tour Championship after winning his maiden European Tour event at the British Masters.

The Irishman denied a charging Rory McIlroy to capture the title in Newcastle on Sunday with a spectacular final round of 61.

The 24-year-old laid the platform for a closing 18-hole effort of nine-under-par with three birdies and an eagle in his first six holes at the Close House course in northeast England.

That gave him a combined tournament total of 20 under-par and a win by three shots from McIlroy, with Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, who had led by a shot heading to the final day, posting a 66 for third place at 16-under par.

Four-time major winner McIlroy had moved to within a shot of Dunne in shooting 63 on Sunday for a total of 17-under.

But Dunne held his nerve brilliantly and answered McIlroy’s challenge with birdies over his closing two holes, including sensationally chipping-in from well off the green at the last.

Dunne’s victory, his first in 51 tour events, helped make amends for his defeat in a play-off for the Hassan II Trophy in Morocco earlier this year.

The result sees Dunne claim 562,500 points in the process to surge from 34th to 12th place in the Race to Dubai Rankings.

McIlroy, who finished second, picked up 374,996 points to move from 10th to sixth place.

However, it’s still Tommy Fleetwood who remains at the head of the rankings with 3,771,122 points, whilst Spaniard Sergio Garcia is in second with a season-tally of 2,799,255 points and his young compatriot Jon Rahm sits in third on 2,761,857.

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