Every time a European Tour season has concluded in Dubai it has been a supply of celebration. Being eligible for the finale, as one of many main 60 gamers on the cash checklist, is a badge of honour few take as a right.
Anybody within the discipline for the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates, the venue for the tour’s climax since 2009, has, by definition, loved a profitable and profitable season. This time there may be extra to rejoice after the challenges of 2020.
The truth that the European Tour has arrived at this level warrants large applause. What a disgrace it’s not doable for galleries to assemble and supply such a tribute.
It has been an astonishing achievement by Keith Pelley and his Wentworth-based staff to create a viable schedule amid the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. It saved the tour because the calls for of lifeblood tv contracts wanted to be fulfilled.
Placing on any type of skilled sport has been terribly difficult since March this yr. However for such a global circuit, involving tons of of particular person gamers the duty was much more demanding.
“Now we have performed 23 occasions since July,” Pelley lately instructed reporters. “Creating 15 from scratch, exhibiting unbelievable resilience and suppleness; and in addition on the identical time funding a well being technique and Covid testing.”
After the Qatar Masters in early March, the tour was shut down till the Austrian Open in July. Then got here a run of six British-based occasions as a safe bubble was established to guard gamers, caddies and officers from coronavirus.
The purses have been considerably smaller, complete prize funds have been usually round a million euros (£917,000) and a number of other of the occasions have been funded totally by the tour at a value of round £2m per occasion.
However crucially Europe’s main golfers have been capable of ply their commerce and finally journey to, amongst different locations, Valderrama in Spain, the Portugal Masters, Italian Open and two occasions in Cyprus.
By final week there have been two occasions taking place concurrently, the South African Open received by the splendidly in type Christiaan Bezuidenhout and the Golf in Dubai Championship, which was snapped up by Antoine Rozner.
The Frenchman turned a tour winner due to the improvisational spirit that has served the European Tour this yr. It was an impressed transfer to make use of the Hearth course at Jumeirah the week previous to the season finale which is all the time performed on the neighbouring Earth structure.
It was not fairly two occasions for the worth of 1, however nearly given the economies of scale that include holding each at basically the identical venue.
These stay turbulent instances and the tour consider they’ve stabilised their future with the current announcement of their strategic alliance with the PGA Tour, massive brother from throughout the pond.
So maybe it’s becoming that it’s an American, Patrick Reed, who leads the Race to Dubai because it enters its ultimate lap. The 2018 Masters winner is a controversial and divisive determine however a convincing advocate of his adopted tour.
“Successful the Race to Dubai and the European Tour’s Order of Benefit has all the time been a aim of mine,” he insisted. “I got here shut in 2018 and you’ll guess I’ll do my finest to earn the primary spot.”
When he competed within the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth final September, Reed spoke with satisfaction and keenness of his need to not be a type of People who not often must know the whereabouts of his passport.
“Being a worldwide participant is definitely on the forefront of my thoughts as knowledgeable,” he stated. “Experiencing new cultures and enjoying in numerous situations in the end helps me develop into a extra well-rounded golfer and individual.
“I get pleasure from assembly new followers and touring to completely different elements of the world to assist develop the sport of golf,” he added.
“It could be an honour to develop into the primary American to win the Race to Dubai and I am actually trying ahead to the problem.”
Apart from the $8m (£6m) prize fund, there are 12,000 Race factors up for grabs this week and Reed holds a 460-point benefit over Tommy Fleetwood, with one other American, Collin Morikawa, 546 factors behind in third place.
The 23-year-old’s elevated place is right down to his maiden main triumph on the US PGA Championship at Harding Park, which counts in direction of the Race to Dubai for European Tour members.
Sarcastically this will likely be his first begin in a a correct European Tour occasion, however the truth that Morikawa is a member and travelling to participate is a welcome signal of dedication from probably the most thrilling younger abilities on the planet.
“I am trying ahead to enjoying in a brand new setting within the Center East,” stated Morikawa. “The chance to win the Race to Dubai is a thrill and it will be an effective way to finish an unforgettable yr.”
On the different finish of the age spectrum, Lee Westwood lies in fourth place and the 47-year-old Englishman is in search of his third cash checklist title.
“It is a massive honour for any participant to be topped the European Tour’s Quantity One,” he stated. “I’ve finished it twice earlier than so it is nice to have one other probability once more this yr.”
Bezuidenhout is bidding for his third title in three weeks after dominating the previous fortnight in his native South Africa.
This week he’s a part of a stronger discipline that additionally consists of Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick, Bob Macintyre, Ian Poulter, Matt Wallace, Danny Willett and Victor Hovland, the Norwegian winner on the PGA Tour in Mexico final Sunday.
There are massive names lacking and the absence of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Paul Casey and Justin Rose removes a good quantity of stardust.
But when 2020 has instructed us something, it’s to cherish what we now have and in that regard the European Tour can nonetheless boast a becoming finish to what has been a uniquely difficult yr.