The European Tour season draws to a close with the DP World Tour Championship which is the final stage of the tour’s Race to Dubai.
Players accrue Race to Dubai points from each tournament on the calendar, the more valuable the event, the more points available. Usually, the top ranked players that season then qualify for three limited field events, the Turkish Airlines Open, the Nedbank Golf Challenge and the climax here at the DP World Tour Championship. In 2020 the first two of these were cancelled.
The player with the most points after this tournament is crowned new king of European golf on the 18th hole of the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
The field contesting the DP World Tour Championship is always made up of the players who have had the best year on the European Tour. It should be no surprise that so many big names have won this tournament but the list of most recent winners is still very impressive. Danny Willett, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson are major champions whilst Jon Rahm and Matthew Fitzpatrick were multiple European Tour winners before getting over the line in Dubai.
|Earth Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates||Dubai, UAE||7,675 Yards||$8,000,000|
This is the second week in a row that the European Tour has hosted an event at Jumeirah Golf Estates. After the Golf in Dubai Championship was held on the Fire Course it’s time for the more famous Earth Course to take up hosting duties for the DP World Tour Championship. That is a role that the Greg Norman-designed, 7,675 yard course has been doing for over 10 years now, with a trip to Dubai the traditional culmination of the European Tour season.
This is a fitting venue, not just for the final event of the season, but also to crown the winner of the Race to Dubai, the European Tour’s season long competition. The Earth Course is a challenging and brutally long layout. It is the way that the course ends that makes it perfect for this role though. The 18th hole is one of two par fives in the last five holes and with its meandering creek running through the fairway it makes a perfect risk/reward hole which has both made and broken dreams over the years.
Both the 15th and the 18th holes, the two key par 5s, measure way in excess of 600 yards, so only the biggest hitters have a hope of making the green in two. Even so, they throw up scoring opportunities but can also be dangerous and so the course lends itself to some exciting finishes.
With six par fours measuring over 450 yards and a 245 yard par three thrown in for good measure, this is certainly a course that hands an advantage to the bigger hitters. It is a clever enough design to test multiple skill sets though, with a premium also on approach play, whilst the last five winners all ranked fourth or better for putts per green in regulation.
DP World Tour Championship Recent Winners
|Year||Winner||To Par||Winning Margin|
|2020||Matthew Fitzpatrick||-15||1 Stroke|
|2019||Jon Rahm||-19||1 Stroke|
|2018||Danny Willett||-18||2 Strokes|
|2017||Jon Rahm||-19||1 Stroke|
|2016||Matthew Fitzpatrick||-17||1 Stroke|
|2015||Rory McIlroy||-21||1 Stroke|
|2014||Henrik Stenson||-16||2 Strokes|
|2013||Henrik Stenson||-25||6 Strokes|
|2012||Rory McIlroy||-23||2 Strokes|
|2011||Alvaro Quiros||-19||2 Strokes|
About the DP World Tour Championship
The DP World Tour Championship, Dubai takes place on the European Tour annually and marks the pinnacle of the Race to Dubai series (that replaced the Order of Merit in 2009 when this tournament started). The Race to Dubai runs throughout the European Tour season, covering 44 tournaments across 28 countries and allows players to accumulate points. After this tournament, the top five players get nicely rewarded through the Race to Dubai Bonus Pool.
When the DP World Tour Championship started in 2009 it was known as the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World, which is a title that is only slightly more cumbersome than its current moniker. The inaugural tournament was won by English ace Lee Westwood by a rather conclusive six strokes ahead of fellow Englishman Ross McGowan.
The event has taken place at the luxurious Jumeriah Golf Estates, which is located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates every year since its existence. The Greg Norman-designed Earth Course is the venue for the European Tour’s season ending event.
Since the Order of Merit was replaced by the Race to Dubai, the top 60 players in the Race to Dubai standings contest The DP World Tour Championship, Dubai each November. Being the climax of the series, this tournament ultimately determines how much cash the top golfers in the Race to Dubai standings will receive through the Bonus Pool systems.
Since the first competition in Dubai over a decade ago, we have seen a number of high-profile winners of this tournament, including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Henrik Stenson. The 2020 edition of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai is scheduled to take place in the UAE at the end of November.
Rahm’s Two Wins in Dubai
One of the hottest players in recent times, Spaniard John Rahm, won the the DP World Tour Championship in November 2019. Rahm was in dazzling form in Dubai, beating runner-up Tommy Fleetwood by a single stroke.
Rahm’s victory in 2019 was his second DP World Tour Championship triumph. In 2017, Barrika-born Rahm edged past Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Irishman Shane Lowry to win by just one stroke. Given Rahm’s ability, and the fact he’s already finished tied third in the US Open (2019), fourth in the Masters (2018) and tied fourth in the US PGA Championship (2018), it is surely only a matter of time before the Spaniard adds a Major to his list of tournament wins. At the time of writing Rahm is one of three golfers to have won this tournament twice.
Dual Winners of the DP World Tour Championship
|Year||Two-time DP World Tour Championship Winners|
|2012, 2015||Rory McIlroy|
|2013, 2014||Henrik Stenson|
|2017, 2019||John Rahm|
Rory’s Best DP World Tour Championship Moments
Along with John Rahm and Henrik Stenson, Northern Ireland star Rory McIlroy has also won the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai on two occasions. Rory’s first victory was a two-stroke success over fellow Brit Justin Rose. Three years later, McIlroy beat Andy Sullivan by a single stroke.
McIlroy enjoyed both wins in Dubai, especially the 2015 showdown with Sullivan. The Englishman pushed him all the way at Jumeriah Golf Estates, but the County Down man held his nerve to secure the narrow margin of victory. On both occasions, as tends to be the way at this tournament, the scores were way below par: 21 below par in 2015 and 23 below par in 2012. Prior to the 2020 tournament the best score at the DP World Tour Championship was even lower than that though: Henrik Stenson’s astounding score of 25 under par in 2013 when he won by six strokes from Ian Poulter.
Willett’s Wonderful Win
After Danny Willett’s memorable Masters victory in 2016, the Englishman openly admitted that he was exhausted as a result of the rigours of the golf schedule and would struggle to compete to the same high standard. Willett then suffered a few injury setbacks as well as changing his coach in 2017, eventually dropping down to 462nd in the World Golf Rankings in May 2018.
However, Willett dug deep in Dubai in 2018, going on to win the trophy at Jumeriah Golf Estates with a stunning performance. A final round of 68 did the business for the Yorkshireman, as he was able to see off Patrick Reed and Matt Wallace by two strokes and claim the top prize.
Five British Wins
Britain has been very successful since this tournament began in 2009, with winners from the British Isles in 2009, 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2018. In the first event back in 2009, when it was known as the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World, Lee Westwood sealed a big six-stroke win.
McIlroy is Britain’s most successful golfer in this tournament, picking up two wins to date. Also, Matthew Fitzpatrick claimed the trophy in 2016, beating Tyrell Hatton to the line, with Danny Willett coming out on top two years later with a fine two-stroke victory. Three different Britons have won three of the five DP World Tour Championships from 2015 to 2019.
British Winners of the DP World Tour Championships
|Year||British DP World Tour Championship Winners|
Despite this being on the European Tour, it is still notable that no player from the United States has managed to win it thus far, with the aforementioned Patrick Reed coming closest when tying for second place in 2018.