R2D Finale: DP World Tour Championship Preview
With the Nedbank Golf Challenge now firmly in the books, all roads lead to Jumeirah Golf Estates for the DP World Tour Championship.
This week's finale in Dubai brings the curtain down on a European Tour season which started with the Australian PGA Championship back on 1st December of last year.
To help us build up to the climactic proceedings this week, let's have a look at what we can expect upon the fairways of Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Venue: Jumeirah Golf Estates
Yardage: 7,706 yds
The Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates has been the host venue for the DP World Tour Championship since 2009.
Designed by Greg Norman specifically for the championship, the course was closed to the public in the lead-up to its debut on the European Tour. Now viewed as one of the most impressive courses on the circuit, the facility is highly deserving of its position as the season finale host.
A challenging test awaits those on the entry list this week. Over 3,500 trees line the course, and close to 100 bunkers lie in wait to greedily collect errant shots - that's before we even begin to consider the many watery graves in play all throughout the course.
The closing four holes demand the utmost accuracy and could arguably represent the most challenging mile of golf in the world.
Have a look at Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson talking about the Earth Course:
Fleetwood's to lose?
After the penultimate event on the 2016/17 European Tour Schedule took place in Sun City last week only three men can mathematically capture the 2017 Race to Dubai crown as we head towards Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia all enter the final week of the season with a chance of becoming the European Tour champion - a title won twelve months ago by Henrik Stenson in his Open Championship winning year.
Fleetwood managed a finish inside the top ten last week, and he now enjoys a 256,737 point lead in the standings. The Englishman has clocked up the air miles this season with the trip to Dubai registering as his 24th European Tour event this season.
A win will, of course, get the job done for Fleetwood but all that is required would be that he equals or betters the finishing positions of his two rivals and he will come out on top.
Tommy put himself in a strong position as far back as January with a win at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:
Rose a late bloomer?
Back in 2007, Justin Rose left it late in capturing the old Order of Merit title doing so in the Volvo Masters, the then season finale.
If he is to have any chance of prevailing a full decade later, the Olympic champion will need to finish no worse than tied fifth. With that said, his most likely route to the European Tour crown would be by completing his four days in solo second position (or better) and Fleetwood failing to win the tournament.
Can the Master muster a comeback?
Though the most unlikely of the three possible outcomes this week, there is still a chance that Sergio Garcia could walk away as the seasonal winner of the Race to Dubai.
The 2017 Masters Champion would need to win the DP World Tour Championship and hope that Fleetwood finishes outside the top 20 with Rose failing to achieve solo fourth. It's a long shot, but Sergio is not entirely out of the equation.
Who do you think will prevail this week? Has Fleetwood got it sewn up? Can Rose continue his strong play in Dubai? Let us know below.