Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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PGA TOUR stars line up for shot at Race to Dubai title

Patrick Reed and Collin Morikawa are among several PGA TOUR players trying to unseat Europe’s top stars as the 2020 season-long Race To Dubai champion on the European Tour this week. 

Reed, an eight-time PGA TOUR winner, leads the European Tour’s Race to Dubai standings heading into this week’s DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates. He leads the way in Europe’s season-long race thanks to his victory in the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship and top-15 finishes in this year’s three majors. He is trying to become the first American to win the Race to Dubai.

His closest competitors are a pair of familiar faces.

Reed’s fellow American, Collin Morikawa, is third in the standings with the knowledge that regardless of what Reed, or current second-place holder Tommy Fleetwood, do in Dubai, he can also take it all with a win. The 23-year-old is in great shape after his PGA Championship triumph in August, his third PGA TOUR win, and is also the main contender for the European Tour Rookie of the Year.

Veteran Englishman Lee Westwood is playing in his 12th consecutive DP World Tour Championship, and at fourth in the standings is the only other player guaranteed to become Europe’s No. 1 player should he win this week’s tournament. The 47-year-old won the inaugural tournament in 2009 and is the only player to feature in each edition since.

The 65-player field is composed of the leading 60 members available on the Race to Dubai, plus 2019 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Sungjae Im, who is an affiliate member) and four other members inside the top 75 in the world ranking who were not otherwise exempt. Viktor Hovland, winner of last week’s Mayakoba Golf Classic presented by UNIFIN, is among that group. Hovland, who like Morikawa turned pro just last year, rose to No. 15 in the world after his win in Mexico.

Hovland joined legends Rory McIlroy, Seve Ballesteros, Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm as the only Europeans in the last 75 years to win multiple PGA TOUR titles before turning 24. 

Hovland also joined the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jerry Pate and Lanny Wadkins as the only players in the last 75 years to win the U.S. Amateur and multiple PGA TOUR titles before turning 24. Everyone else on that list won at least one major and a PLAYERS Championship.

While the top four have their destiny in their own hands, the 2,000 points available to the winner means mathematically any player could become Race to Dubai Champion with victory in the DP World Tour Championship.

Fleetwood and Westwood have both won the Race to Dubai before, in 2017 and in 2009 respectively, with Westwood also winning the former Order of Merit in 2000. 

Christian Bezuidenhout, who is coming off back-to-back victories in South Africa, Victor Perez, Aaron Rai and Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard champion Tyrrell Hatton would be Race to Dubai Champion with victory provided Reed doesn’t finish second alone. 

The DP World Tour Championship winner receives $3 million while a bonus pool will be awarded to those members finishing within the top 5 on the final 2020 Race to Dubai Rankings, starting at $500,000 for the winner.

Read the full article here.

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