The Race To Dubai 2017, the European Tour’s season-long points standings system, will come to a conclusion at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai and three players will battle it out to lift the coveted title.
Points leader Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia are still in the running to win the Race To Dubai ahead of the last of 48 events this season.
All three are bidding to win the Race To Dubai title for the first time in their careers—although Rose did win the Order of Merit before it was rebranded. Fleetwood holds a 256,737 points advantage over second placed Rose. Garcia, meanwhile, is more than a million points adrift but can still triumph if he wins and his rivals falter.
A host of scenarios could yet be played out in which each one of the three golfers are crowned Race To Dubai 2017 champion. So what do Fleetwood, Rose and Garcia need to do to triumph at Jumeirah Golf Estates?
Fleetwood, who has played 23 events on the European Tour’s Race To Dubai 2017—12 more than Rose and 11 more than Garcia—knows he just needs to match the performances of both rivals at the Earth Course in Dubai to lift the title. The Englishman also knows the prize will be his if Rose doesn’t finish in the top five of the DP World Tour Championship and Garcia does not win the season-ending tournament. Fleetwood has led the standings for much of the year having won in Abu Dhabi in January. His 10th place finish in the Nedbank Challenge last week, a tournament his two rivals didn’t play in, has ensured things remain in his own hands.
Rose won the Order of Merit in 2007, that being the previous system used on the European Tour before the creation of the Race To Dubai. He won the final tournament of the year to achieve that nine years ago, but could theoretically win this time if he finishes as low as fifth. Victory would give Rose the title, as would second place if Fleetwood does not win the final event. Rose is a man on form having won both his last two events, the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, to surge into contention despite playing in only 11 events.
The permutations are simple for this year’s US Masters champion Garcia to win the Race To Dubai 2017. The Spaniard, who has played in 12 events this season for two wins in the Dubai Desert Classic and Andalucia Valderrama Masters, must win the DP World Tour Championship to stand any chance of being named European Tour champion. Then he must hope Fleetwood finishes outside of the top 20 in the event and Rose is tied fifth or worse. It is a long shot, but Garcia will go to Dubai with an outside chance.
Since becoming the Race To Dubai in 2009, only five players have been crowned champion in the eight years. Lee Westwood won the first and was followed by Martin Kaymer in 2010 and Luke Donald in 2011. Rory McIlroy lifted the title three times in 2012, 2014 and 2015 and Henrik Stenson is a two-time winner in 2013 and last year in 2016.