The Race to Dubai’s leading four will battle it out for top spot in this season’s money list at the season finale in Dubai.
Jumeirah Golf Estates hosts as the European Tour season concludes at the DP World Tour Championship this weekend.
Swedes Henrik Stenson and Alex Noren along with Danny Willett and Rory McIlory, all head to the United Arab Emirates with a chance of finishing the season as the Tour’s most successful player of 2016.
Stenson, who won this event in 2013 and 2014, sits atop the rankings by just under 300,000 points, having only played in 15 European Tour events this season. Providing he finishes above the challenging three, the world number four will become the Race to Dubai champion for the second time.
On the contrary, second placed Willett and third placed Noren have played 46 European Tour events between them this season.
Noren comes into this one as arguably the most in-form player in the world. The 34-year-old broke into the world top 10 with his win at the Nedbank Golf Challenge after posting a remarkable Sunday 63, on a course proving tough to score low, to overturn a six-shot deficit on Jeunghun Wang at the start of the final day. With four wins in his last eleven starts, expect to see Noren placing high up the leaderboard in Dubai.
Englishman Willett is far from experiencing such a rich vein of form, his last three starts before the Nedbank Golf Challenge ended with a tied 143rd, a 75th and a tied 68th finish. However, a 67 and 69 at the weekend in South Africa suggests the Masters champion may be on a return to form.
Defending Race to Dubai champion, McIlroy, requires a minimum of a win in Dubai in order to hold any hope of retaining his title. The Northern Irishman also knows, however, that a victory would give him a strong chance of returning the the world number one spot, above Jason Day.
2015 saw McIlroy win this event for the second time and, subsequently, the Race to Dubai for the third time, in his short career. The 27-year-old finished at 21-under-par, one shot ahead of the returning Andy Sullivan, who himself was five shots ahead of the third placed Branden Grace. Despite only playing one event since the Ryder Cup, McIlroy can also be expected to place high this weekend as he has 20 top 10 finishes in 23 events in the Middle East.
History suggests scoring will be low this weekend, with the average winning score of the last four years being just under 21-under-par. The par 72 course, designed by Greg Norman, sits at 7675 yards in length and is infested with 99 bunkers and huge water hazards making both power and precision of paramount importance to compete.
The leading foursome will be joined by another 56 of this season’s Race to Dubai top 62. This includes the likes of Tyrrell Hatton, Branden Grace, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Louis Oosthuizen, Chris Wood and Thorbjørn Olesen who will all want to maintain their top 10 Race to Dubai positioning in order to take a portion of the $5million bonus pool.
All eyes will be on the leading four, however, as Sweden take on the United Kingdom in a quest to be crowned the European Tour’s king of the season.