Race to Dubai heating up ahead of Jumeirah finale

The 2016 European Tour is set to reach a thrilling conclusion in Dubai in November, with the world’s finest players descending on Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth Course for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship

As the 2016 European Tour schedule reaches its closing stages, fans are looking ahead to what promises to be a thrilling conclusion to the season, with the world’s finest players set to tee it up at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai from 17-20 November.

The year’s final event, which will be held on the spectacular Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates, will see the top 60 players in the European Tour rankings play for a share of the US$8 million prize purse and the chance to claim the Race to Dubai title as the year’s leading player, following a season-long battle that has spanned 47 tournaments in 27 countries across five continents.

Among the favourites to claim the crown will be three-time Race to Dubai champion Rory McIlroy, who sealed last year’s title with a one-stroke victory in the season finale at Jumeirah. The Northern Irishman clearly feels comfortable over the Earth Course, having only finished outside the top 10 once in seven visits since 2009. That was when he tied for 11th in 2011 and he has placed no worse than fifth in each of the last four years, with two victories and one runner-up finish.

The four-time major winner’s victory in last year’s DP World Tour Championship denied Danny Willett the chance to claim his first Race to Dubai title, but the Englishman has bounced back in spectacular fashion in 2016, winning the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February before claiming his maiden major championship at April’s US Masters.

Those victories have helped lift the 28-year-old to the top of the Race to Dubai rankings and he currently leads McIlroy by more than 700,000 points, while Henrik Stenson is in second place, less than 80,000 points behind Willett.

The Swede also claimed his first major title this year after a dramatic final-round battle with Phil Mickelson at the Open Championship and may feel confident of overhauling Willett, having twice won the DP World Tour Championship, including his 2013 victory that sealed the Race to Dubai title.

Among the other star names set to appear at Jumeirah will be Olympic champion Justin Rose – twice a runner-up over the Earth Course – and 2009 champion Lee Westwood. Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello – currently fourth in the standings – will be looking to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Álvaro Quirós, who won over the Earth Course in 2011, while the strong South African contingent of Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel should also feature prominently.

Ryder Cup debutants Chris Wood, Thomas Pieters, Andy Sullivan and Matthew Fitzpatrick are sure to attract large crowds throughout the week, but perhaps the biggest following will be for fan-favourite Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston, who is set to make his debut at the DP World Tour Championship following a fantastic season that has seen the cult hero enjoy a breakthrough win at the Spanish Open as well as a top-10 finish at the Open Championship.

With so many leading players to follow and the Race to Dubai title on the line, the DP World Tour Championship looks set to be the hottest ticket in town this November.