Currently the number stands at 11 which plays into the hands of those stars who chose to compete on both the European and PGA tours. With the Race for Dubai beginning next season this is a very important topic. The lucrative season-long competition, which replaces the Order of Merit, is currently open only to European Tour members, and one of the stipulations for membership is to play the minimum number of tournaments.
So who might have to change their schedule? Justin Rose, Anders Hansen, Luke Donald and Nick OHern played 12 events on the 2007 schedule. Sergio Garcia and Angel Cabrera were right on the proposed number with 13. Tiger Woods played nine European Tour events, but, and here lies the problem, only two of those were non-major/WGC events.
In order to give their membership more opportunities to balance their schedules, the European Tour includes all four majors and the three WGC events. The top players in the game all qualify and usually want to play those tournaments, so with 11 starts the European Tour gets a minimum four additional tournaments from the big boys. It seems like a good idea then to make those players who want to be European Tour players and want to compete for the $20 million on offer with the Race for Dubai to play more events on European Tour territory. We shall keep an eye on how this plays-out.
Martin the Magnificent:
He faltered on the final day, but overall Martin Kaymers performance last week in Abu Dhabi was first class. The 23-year-old German captured his first European Tour win in style with a four-stroke victory.
His rise to the winner's circle has been rather rapid, his presence only registering with the mainstream golf fans at last years Celtic Manor Wales Open where he led going into the final round, only to fall away and finish T14th. It was one of 10 top-15 finishes for the 23-year-old German in 2007, earning him the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award.
His name, though, had first come to light on June 21, 2006 at the Habsberg Classic, an event on the EPD Tour, a German based mini-tour. Kaymer carded one bogey, four pars, 12 birdies and an eagle in that second round which added up to a 59. He then added a 62 the next day to capture his second win on the tour that season. He won three more events on the EPD Tour in 2006 easing to the No. 1 spot on their money list. His stellar form earned him an invitation to the Vodafone Challenge in August of 2006, a Challenge Tour event played in his home nation. He won. He then went on to win again that year on the Challenge Tour and eventually at seasons end, earned himself a card to the Big Time and the rest, they say, is history.
His victory in Abu Dhabi puts him inside the top 50 on the World Rankings. Watch-out for Martin Kaymer.
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