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Euro Tour Unveils Race to Dubai

LONDON -- The European Tour revealed a wide-ranging partnership with Dubai on Monday and the biggest part of the announcement was the creation of a new tournament, The Dubai World Championship.
Following the PGA TOUR and its FedExCup, the European Tour has developed the Race to Dubai, which will feature the top 60 players on the Order of Merit playing for a bonus pool of $10 million.
The winner of the Race to Dubai will earn $2 million and the top-15 players on the Race list will earn bonus money. Much like the Order of Merit champion, the winner of The Race to Dubai will receive a ten-year European Tour exemption.
Capping the Race to Dubai, will be The Dubai World Championship. That will be the final event on the 2009 schedule and will be contested at Jumeirah Golf Estates. It will be played on either the Fire or Earth course.
The championship will also feature a purse of $10 million, the largest purse in the world. The winner of that event will collect $1,666,660 and will pick up a five-year European Tour exemption.
The Race to Dubai commences in November 2008 when the European Tour starts the 2009 International schedule.
'This is so much more than a tournament sponsorship,' said the European Tour's Chief Executive George O'Grady. 'It is a long term partnership which will see The European Tour and Dubai joining together to significantly enhance the game world-wide and take golf to a new level for spectators everywhere.
'The scale of this agreement is testament to the vision of Dubai and its ruler His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who has recognized the dynamic role golf can play in developing the global profile of this amazing city. It is also testament to Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, who has been instrumental in turning that vision into reality.'
As well as creating this new event and new race, the European Tour will move its International Headquarters to the Jumeirah Golf Estates. This new site will include a 'Centre of Excellence', which will provide European Tour players a location to practice and train year-round.
Part of the announcement was to establish a joint venture with Leisurecorp to develop new tournament venues around the world. Leisurecorp is the company creating the residential golf community at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
'At Jumeirah Golf Estates, we are creating the world's leading residential golf community based around four of the world's leading courses,' said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai World, the parent company of Leisurecorp. 'It is absolutely fitting therefore that we should welcome the world's leading tournament. This deal is yet another step in Dubai's evolution as one of the most important golf centers anywhere in the world.'