The DP World Tour Championship, being the season-ending champion of the European Tour, it is easy to understand why the focus is mostly on the players in contention for the Race to Dubai.
The Harry Vardon Trophy is one of the most respected possessions in European golf. It signifies that a golfer has played well throughout the season to claim the honour of being called the Tour’s No. 1 player for the whole of next season.
That part of the Race to Dubai is now restricted to four players – Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett, Alex Noren and Rory McIlroy. But there are so many more interesting storylines in the $8 million tournament that gets underway at the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates from today…
Race to be top rookie
The battle to get their name on the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year is equally important. It also signifies the health of the Tour when you have more rookies making it to the season-ending championship.
This year, there are five players in the race, led by Korean sensation Jeunghun Wang who is 15th in the Race to Dubai and the favourite to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot and 2015 winner Byeong Hun An.
Leading Light: Jeunghun Wang.
The 21-year-old Wang is a multiple champion on the Tour, having won twice already.
The other four players in the fray are China’s Li Haotong (19th), Korea’s Soomin Lee (40th), South Africa’s Brandon Stone at 48th, and the fast-charging Ricardo Gouveia of Portugal (53). It’s going to be a close battle between the top-two.
Wang was leading last week in South Africa before he was usurped by Alex Noren on the final day, but he did finish second. Li played phenomenally well to finish tied second the week earlier in Turkey.
Race for Bonus Pool
The Bonus Pool is an attractive $5 million, divided among the top-10 players on the Race to Dubai. The winner gets $1.25m, but the even the 10th placed player pockets a hefty cheque of $250,000.
As of now, even the 50th ranked player can qualify for the Bonus Pool with a win. And such established players as Bernd Wiesberger, Lee Westwood, Andy Sullivan and Martin Kaymer are ranked 11-14, just outside the top 10 and in with a great chance to make a big move with a good finish.
Race to the world top 50
With the DP World Tour Championship being the last of the big events for the year, many players who are currently outside the top- 50 in the world rankings would be eyeing a big push to ensure they get into the elite bracket of golf.
A top-50 ranking at the end of the year qualifies players for most majors and World Golf Championship events.