The Race to Dubai will come to an end at Jumeirah Golf Estates where the DP World Tour Championship is going to take place this weekend.
And here’s a look at the ones to watch out for as the European Tour season comes to a conclusion.
Back-to-back victories at the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Open have kept Fleetwood in check and Rose sat out the Nedbank Challenge to get himself sufficiently rested and recuperated for this weekend.
It backfired to a certain degree as Fleetwood’s 10th place in South Africa saw him extend his lead but Rose will be more than confident he can hunt his countryman down.
The 37-year-old will also harbour a desire to succeed in this tournament having twice finished runner-up in 2012 and 2014.
Fleetwood’s year began with a brilliant victory in Abu Dhabi and he’s enjoyed an outstanding year since – highlighted by his commanding position at the top of the rankings.
The 26-year-old also won the Open de France and claimed 10 top-10 finishes, including fourth at the US Open – his best finish in a major.
It’s easily been his best year on tour and while he’d be forgiven for a few nerves to kick in this weekend, he knows his fate in his own hands, and he has some form at this tournament having finished ninth last year.
What a year it’s been for the Spaniard and to finish it as European golf’s No1 player would have more than an air of symbolism.
Garcia needs something spectacular and for Fleetwood and Rose to fail considerably but this is a city where he has already won this year – at the Desert Classic – and won’t maybe carry the same burden of expectation as the two men above him in the standings.
There has been an element of boom or bust, however, from the Masters champion with three victories and a runner-up against barely touching the top 30 in tournaments.
Fisher banished memories of a disappointing summer by twice finishing in the top two over a fortnight last month at the Alfred Dunhill Links and Italian Open.
That $1m boost, added to an early spurt of form, has seen him compile more than $2.5m on the Race to Dubai – good enough to top his previous best calendar earnings on the European Tour in 2009.
However, you’d have to go all the way back to March 2014 for his last European Tour victory and the 36-year-old will be smarting from his recent near misses.
Garcia and Rahm may be the two Spaniards in the spotlight this year but count out Cabrera-Bello at your peril, who ended a fiveyear drought on the European Tour by clinching the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in July.
In fact, the 33-year-old has been in generally superb form for a while now as at eighth, he was the highest-ranked Spaniard in last year’s Race to Dubai standings.
He is also likely to be a central figure in the Ryder Cup next year – in a losing effort at Hazeltine in 2016, few Europeans impressed as much as Cabrera Bello, with 2.5 points from just three matches.
Rafa Cabrera Bello
When Noren gets hot, he stays hot, as his course-record final round of 62 in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth – having been seven shots off the pace at the start of the day – is up there with any of the most impressive feats in the sport this year.
Unsurprisingly he has not kept up the form that led to him lifting five European Tour trophies within a 10-month span.
Since Wentworth the 35-yearold’s best finish has been a tie for sixth, but his results have been solid enough to suggest he will be around the leading pack.
A Dubai debut for the new kid on the block but it surely won’t be the last time we see the talented 23-year-old, whose shot-making ability and aggressive game can make a real impact.
His outstanding start to the season has been mirrored on the PGA Tour where he closed out the FedEx Cup with four successive top-10s after a summer in which his white-hot form cooled.
However, on the European Tour, since winning the Irish Open in July the best he’s recorded is a tie for 15th at the Italian Open.
Just like countryman Rose he bagged consecutive titles this season to propel him up the standings and he will surely be a fixture at this tournament for many years to come.
It’s been an impressive fightback for the 26-year-old as a run of five missed cuts over the summer threatened to derail his season.
His last two appearances in Dubai have been a second place at this tournament last year and tied for third at the Desert Classic. He will know he’s not far away from being crowned champion here.
The South African is the man in form heading on to the Earth course this week after delighting his home crowd and winning in Sun City last Sunday – in the same week he found out that his wife would be giving birth to a boy.
Up to that point it had been a good season highlighted by one special round at The Open, where he became the first man to card a round of 62 in a Major.
Even then the 29-year-old could only finish in sixth. Roundto-round consistency during tournaments has been a problem, but his peaks are very high indeed.
Molinari has continued to hop between the PGA and European Tour and while it’s greatly bolstered his wallet, victories have proven elusive.
Five top-10 finishes on the PGA and an agonising second place at Wentworth are no small achievements but the Italian has yet to get over that last hump.
Still, the 35-year-old has compiled enough money from just 12 tournaments to be currently sitting 10th in the Race to Dubai – can he end a long and travel-intensive season with a flourish at Jumeirah Golf Estates?
200 – chefs preparing to serve over 15,000 meals to players, spectators and tournament staff throughout the week.
253 – DP World Tour Championship volunteers under the leadership of Chief Marshal Jenni Hoskins – 150 UAE residents, 103 international, 173 men, 75 women, 169 returning volunteers, 84 new volunteers and 18 have participated in all 9 tournaments.
500 – tournament staff from the European Tour, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Tour Productions, hostesses and security.
1,490 – rehydration drinks will be drunk by the players during the course of the tournament week.
1,500 – irrigation sprinklers.
Leading the standings: Tommy Fleetwood
1,700 – pieces of fruit where taken from the first and 10th tee by the players and their caddies last year during tournament week.
1,844 – hours of tournament TV coverage shot by 138 TV crew will be beamed into 486 million homes around the world.
31,920 – forks will be used and washed just feeding the officials and players
65,000 – fans expected to attend the tournament, with the Championship Village, 4 grandstands, 7 hospitality chalets, 4 giant TV screens and 11 scoreboards to ensure all spectators have a first-class experience.
$450,000 – will have been raised for tournament charities Friends of Cancer Patients and Special Needs Foundation over the past eight years.
$13m – of prize money from the DP World Tour Championship prize fund ($8m) and a Race to Dubai Bonus Pool ($5m).
He is one of only three men who can win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai title, but Sergio Garcia is giving himself only a “two per cent” chance of success at the series-ending DP World Tour Championship this weekend.
The Spaniard is third in the Race to Dubai rankings on 3,184,582 points, behind Englishmen Justin Rose in second and leader Tommy Fleetwood.
Even if Garcia can cap a marvelous 2017 – which began with him finally triumphing at a major, at April’s Masters – by lifting the trophy at Jumeirah Golf Estates on Sunday, the odds are still stacked firmly against him.
Win and the 37-year-old still requires Rose to finish outside the top four and Fleetwood to finish out of the top 20.
“No, I don’t even know. It doesn’t really bother me,” Garcia responded nonchalantly when asked by media in Dubai on Tuesday if he was aware of all the possible plot twists and scenarios needed to secure glory.
“It’s not going to change what I do. What I’m going to do is go out there and do what I do every week, which is to try and play the best I can, give myself the best option to win.
“I can’t control the way other people are going to play. Justin and Tommy are playing really well. I’m not expecting them to finish 40th or 50th. To be totally honest I probably see a two per cent chance of me winning, but that’s fine. I can live with it. It’s been a great year and that’s not going to change.”
As for 2017, it will certainly go down as one of the greatest in Garcia’s 19-year professional career – topped of course by that stunning success at Augusta National over Rose in a sudden death play-off.
The boy from Borriol had preceded that with a fine victory in the Emirates, at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, while the Andalucia Masters title at Valderrama followed last month on home soil.
“It’s been a wonderful year, not only on the golf course,” admitted El Nino, who denied finally landing one of golf’s top prizes had changed his mindset.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I’m not going to lie, winning the Masters and Dubai and Valderama, it always helps because it gives you extra confidence. It’s obviously a plus, but I don’t feel different on the golf course. I don’t walk taller, I don’t look at people differently.”
It’s been a terrific year for Spanish sport. Alongside Garcia’s Green Jacket, there’s been Rafael Nadal’s return to prominence, which saw him complete La Decima – a 10th French Open title – at Roland Garros as well as his US Open win. Marc Marquez, meanwhile, won a fourth MotoGP crown in five years at the weekend.
Garcia isn’t sure if there’s a Spanish equivalent of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, but if there was, his vote would go to Nadal.
“I would definitely be behind Rafa but hopefully I would be top five,” said Garcia.
“I’ve won some nice trophies from around the area where I’m from and some press awards. There’s one next year that is national and I’ve been mentioned for one, but I doubt it’s sportsman because I would give it to Rafa.
“I think I’ve done fairly well but I don’t think I’ve been the number one sportsman. We’re fortunate we have a lot.”
Winning a maiden major was something Garcia had been dreaming of for almost two decades.
Another thing that’s changed for the world No. 11 is his choice of clubs. After 15 years swinging with a set of TaylorMade clubs, the two parted ways last month.
Garcia said it was a mutual decision, saying TaylorMade’s split from parent company adidas in May played a part, while contract negotiations might also have been impacted by sponsorships given to other players.
“It wasn’t only my decision. I’ve spent 15 years with TaylorMade but things come to an end,” said Garcia, who has been playing since the split with Calloway clubs and will tee off in Dubai for the first time with a full set on Thursday – although a deal is not official.
“All companies change and there are politics, with adidas, and we couldn’t come to an agreement, so I understand. It’s also difficult when you have so many top players, to keep all of them. Unfortunately, we weren’t in the package.”