As the second Race to Dubai moves towards a thrilling climax at the Dubai World Championship, presented by DP World, The European Tour expects the tournament venue to be in tip-top condition for next month’s showdown in the Gulf.
David Garland, the Tour’s Director of Tour Operations, flew to Dubai to visit the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates and declared himself satisfied with the progress of the Greg Norman-designed course, which hosted the inaugural championship, won by England’s Lee Westwood, last year.
Garland toured the Jumeirah site in the company of Nick Tarratt from The European Tour’s International Office in Dubai; Tour agronomist Graeme MacNiven; Geoff Hunter, General Manager of Jumeirah Golf Estates and Hamish McKendrick, Senior Manager, Agronomy, for the host venue.
With only eight weeks remaining before Race to Dubai leader Martin Kaymer of Germany and 59 of his rivals contest the $7.5 million prize fund and $7.5 million Bonus Pool, Garland is convinced that the 60-strong field will enjoy the stimulating challenge of the Earth course from November 25-28.
Garland commented: “We are very pleased with the way the course has survived the very high temperatures during the summer in the Gulf and we expect playing conditions to be even better than in 2009.
“A substantial number of trees have grown and shrubbery thickened since last year and there is now a clearly defined band of rough between the fairways and the bark chippings, which was absent last year due to high salt content in the water during the summer which restricted growth.”
The Bermuda rough is now 64mm deep, adding to the degree of difficulty for the Dubai World Championship field, while MacNiven believes the greens will putt more consistently than in 2009.
He said: “Last year the course was brand new and the greens needed time to settle. Through play and maturity, the greens have found their level, the sward is denser and the fact that we are now able to use ride-on machinery on them is a sign of progress.”
Three of the four Major Champions of 2010 will be in the field, with Race to Dubai leader and USPGA Champion Kaymer facing a formidable challenge from US Open Champion Graeme McDowell, 2009 winner Westwood, three-time Major winner Ernie Els and his fellow South Africans Charl Schwartzel and Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen.
Picture Caption: The European Tour’s Director of Tour Operations David Garland (centre) inspects the 18th green during a visit to the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates with European Tour agronomist Graeme MacNiven (right) and Geoff Hunter, General Manager of Jumeirah Golf Estates.