The Race to Dubai is the European Tour’s answer to the PGA Tour’s FEDEXCUP. The Race pits European Tour players in a yearlong point format competition and that culminates in a four tournament playoff starting on 25 Oct at the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya, Turkey. Followed by the WGC-HSBC Champions, BMW Masters, and finally the DP World Tour Championship, all players will be vying for the a large portion of the prize money and the prestigious Vardon Trophy.
Currently, Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett, Louis Oosthuizenm, Shane Lowry, and Justin Rose are the top contenders leading to the playoffs. With two events to play before The Race to Dubai playoffs, these five players are likely to remain the favourites down the homeward stretch.
Controversy about McIlroy’s eligibility was voiced due to his ankle injury which forced one of the world’s best professional golfers to sit out three scheduled European Tour events this summer. The injury prevented McIlroy from playing in the required 13 events to remain in The Race to Dubai. However, European Chief Exec, Keith Pelley, stated that MCilroy’s injury fits the “exceptional circumstances” clause for The Race and permitted the current point leader permission to qualify after playing 12 European Tour events.
Danny Willett is quoted as saying he is happy for McIlroy and understands the challenges ahead if he wants to be the top player on the European Tour. Further in the news, Willett turned down the offer from the PGA Tour to play fulltime in America in 2016. Willett stated he wanted to win more on the European Tour and to continue to hone his game before making any move. Willett really has nothing to prove, yet he seeks to be the best on the European Tour; I wise choice by such a young professional.
When McIlroy first announced his ankle injury, I wrote that Danny Willett was in the driver’s seat to win The Race Dubai. Willett was playing extremely well and by all accounts he was the player to beat. The recent decision by the European Tour to allow McIlroy to compete may have torpedoed Willett’s changes at the top spot, but I do not think so.
Danny Willett is the right position to win The Race to Dubai. This two-time European Tour winner plays well in big events. His sixth place finish at The Open Championship and his recent win Omega European Masters are perfect examples of his ability to raise to the occasion; however he is a streaky player and if wants to duplicate the play of Jason Day, he will have to be more consistent during The Race to Dubai playoffs.
I am looking forward to the start of The Race to Dubai and see if my prediction of Danny Willett taking it all comes through. He will be playing against seasoned veterans, but if has his sights on moving up the world rankings, the 2015 Race for Dubai is the perfect test.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!