The season-ending US$8million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, played at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 21-24, 2019, is to become the richest prize in world golf after the European Tour today announced that the winner will now pocket a cheque for US$3 million, an increase of 125% from the US$1.33 million won by Englishman Danny Willett at last year’s tournament.
The DP World Tour Championship, a Rolex Series event, will also feature an even more exclusive player field than ever before as it will reduce from 60 to the top 50 players on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
Danny Van Otterdijk, SVP Communications, DP World said: “This is excellent news for everyone involved in European Tour golf. It means more entertainment for the fans, more incentive for the players, and an even bigger profile for the sport. Most importantly, I am delighted that, as the richest prize in world golf, the DP World Tour Championship will continue to be one of the most sought-after titles in the game. This news is a testament to the success of DP World’s ten-year partnership with the European Tour, and we are thrilled that our investment has allowed the tournament to continue to grow and maintain its position at the pinnacle of the European Tour. DP World’s investment in golf is about supporting the future of the game – encouraging grassroots development, supporting new innovation in the sport, and promoting global connectivity. This news can only have a positive impact on the game, that will allow it to flourish and grow even more over the next ten years.”
The creation of the largest first prize in the history of golf was one of several changes announced including an amendment to the US$5million Race to Dubai Bonus Pool, which will now be divided amongst the top five players in the Race to Dubai instead of the top ten, with the 2019 winner claiming US$2 million, up from the US$1.25 million claimed by Italian Francesco Molinari last year. The changes mean the tantalizing prospect of one player potentially walking away from Jumeirah Golf Estates US$5 million richer if they win both the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai.
The two Rolex Series events preceding the DP World Tour Championship on the schedule – the Turkish Airlines Open from November 7-10 and the Nedbank Golf Challenge presented by Gary Player from November 14-17 – have also seen their first prizes significantly increased.
The winner of the Turkish Airlines Open will now go home with US$2 million (up from the US$1.16 million won by Justin Rose in 2018); while the champion at the Nedbank Golf Challenge will receive a cheque to the tune of US$2.5 million (up from the US$1.25 million won by Lee Westwood in 2018).
The overall prize fund for the three events will remain the same (Turkey – US$7 million, Nedbank – US$7.5 million, Dubai – US$8 million) with the balance of the field playing for a US$5 million prize fund: i.e. the runner-up will receive first placed prize money based on a US$5 million event.
With positions on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex now determined on points, these will also rise significantly; with the total number available at each tournament being: 9,000 at the Turkish Airlines Open (up from 7,000); 10,000 at the Nedbank Golf Challenge up from 7,500); and 12,000 at the DP World Tour Championship (up from 8,000).
The field sizes for all three final events of the season have been revised and reduced to show a clear progression from event to event; with the leading 70 players from the Race to Dubai playing in Turkey, the leading 60 competing in South Africa, and the leading 50 lining up in Dubai.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “The changes we have announced today in terms of enhanced winner’s cheques, Race to Dubai points and Bonus Pool dividend are designed to increase the excitement around the end of the season for or fans, as well as encourage greater top player participation in our final three events.
“We have undertaken significant analysis recently and have found that, had these additional Race to Dubai points been available over the past five years; on average between five and 16 players would have come to our final event with a chance of winning the Race to Dubai, in addition to an average of 43 players having the chance to earn Bonus Pool money at the end of the season; both numbers considerably higher than was actually the case in those years.
“With the revised prize money breakdown and the extra Race to Dubai points in place for 2019, this provides a tremendous incentive for our players.”