Europeans eye Race to Dubai at Singapore Open


2009 European Tour

SINGAPORE ' Europe's top golfers will jockey for position in the Race to Dubai ' and look to earn some of the $5 million in prize money ' when the Singapore Open starts Thursday.

The Asian Tour event is being co-sanctioned for the first time by the European Tour, allowing players to boost their rankings before the $7.5 million, season-long contest culminates at next month's Dubai World Championship.

It's very important for me because I couldn't win the Race to Dubai if it wasn't co-sanctioned, Padraig Harrington said Wednesday. And it's not every week you get to play for $5 million.

Harrington and Ernie Els, who both tied for second at last year's tournament, face stiff competition from Phil Mickelson at the par-71, 7,300-yard Sentosa Golf Club.

Els, who missed a putt on the last day at the 18th hole last year that would have forced a playoff with winner Jeev Milkha Singh, is looking for his first win of the year.

I still have nightmares about the birdie putt that I missed on 18, the South African said. I have won tournaments every year since I turned pro. I'm running out of time.

Els complained that this week's World Match Play Championship in Spain ' following other scheduling conflicts in recent years ' forced players to choose between the two events.

I don't quite understand that, Els said. We've got more controversy this week.

Race to Dubai leaders Lee Westwood , Martin Kaymer , Rory McIlroy and Paul Casey are scheduled to play in Spain.