What impact will the Race to Dubai have

By Brian HewittJanuary 6, 2009, 5:00 pm
One of the first things you need to know if youre trying to figure out how much impact the Race to Dubai will have in its first year is the answer to this question:
 
What does $20 million really mean?
 
Thats the money figure that has been widely bandied about in the publicity surrounding the European Tours final event, which will take place in late November in Dubai.
 
Twenty million dollars (U.S.) will be at stake. But the most any player will cart off at the end of the week is $3.6 million.
 
Thats more than $6 million less than the winner of the FedEx Cup scores. And that brings us back to the impact of the Race To Dubai and the Euro Tours season-ending Dubai World Championship:
 
Its more money than the Europeans have ever played for in one place. But the economy is bad all over the world. And its not as if the PGA Tour got poor overnight.
 
To be sure, there will be top American players that qualify for the 60-man Dubai World Championship where the field will divvy up a $10 million purse and the top 15 players on the final Race to Dubai season standings (this used to be called The Order of Merit) will split up another $10 million.
 
But there hasnt been a full-scale exodus of Yanks. And there wont be any time soon. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, to name a pair, declined to take full European Tour membership (a Race To Dubai requirement) when the deadline came and passed in November.
 
Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas, to name a pair, have taken up what the European Tour calls Affiliated Membership. That means, for a minimal fee, they are eligible to obtain seven invitations to Euro sanctioned events and, more importantly, they are not subject to the 12-event minimum required by full members.
 
Part of the allure of the Race to Dubai for players and the people who market them is the opportunity to go global the Race presents. But Dubai, for all its oil riches, is not the land of milk and honey that many people think it is.
 
The Wall St. Journal recently reported that banks and finance companies that helped underwrite Dubais recent real estate growth are ' heres a surprise ' facing mortgage defaults. Part of the problem for that region has been the precipitous decline in oil prices in the last several months.
 
Undaunted, the European Tour is building its international headquarters in Dubai. And several of its top players have residences in that country.
 
I think this Race to Dubai now unites us on a global basis, says European Tour executive director George OGrady.
 
And PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem made a special point of acknowledging the existence of the Race to Dubai at the World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at the end of last year.
 
For a while at the end of last year there was even talk of Dubai being the European host venue for a Ryder Cup as early as 2018. OGrady subsequently scotched that notion.
 
To be sure, Dubai and the influence it will wield in the world of golf in the near future will be immense. Remember, Tiger Woods first effort as a golf course designer is in Dubai. Right now Dubai is an oasis for golf. And its not likely to become a mirage any time soon.
 
But its impact is limited. The big television contracts and the large title sponsor dollars are still going to be spent in the United States for the foreseeable future.
 
Any rumors of the demise of the PGA Tour, at the hands of The Race to Dubai, are greatly exaggerated.
 

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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.