Race To Dubai Finale: DP World Tour Championship Preview
After 12 months of enthralling European Tour action, it's all come down to this.
This week's DP World Tour Championship seasonal finale is the culmination of 12 months hard graft for the 60 golfers left standing in the Race to Dubai points race.
The 47 scoring events on the 2017/18 calendar have spanned five different continents and we've witnessed some truly stunning golf. At Hole19 HQ we're excited to see the final push by each of the golfers in this week's field; to help pique your interest, check out our preview below...
The VenueJumeirah Golf Estates Yardage: 7,675 yds Par: 72
This year's trip to Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai is the 10th anniversary of the DP World Tour Championship with the Earth Course playing as host venue since 2009.
The Greg Norman design was created with the championship in mind and was closed to the public in the lead-up to its European Tour debut. 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.
Set amidst a truly spectacular landscape, the Earth Course is a challenging test with tree-lined fairways, 99 strategically placed bunkers ready to greedily snare wayward shots, and many water hazards sure to place a seed of doubt in the mind of any golfer.
The closing four holes are particularly difficult and will demand the utmost accuracy. This quartet is often collectively viewed as the hardest mile in golf.
Check out the video below as Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson attempt to recreate their most famous shots at Jumeirah Golf Estates...
Last Season's DP World Tour Champ: Jon Rahm
Spaniard Jon Rahm's victory at last year's tournament was the perfect end to an impressive 2017. As the final leg of a hat-trick of wins, it was also the second win in his debut season on the European Tour after demolishing the field at the DDF Irish Open in July.
Last Season's Race To Dubai Champ: Tommy Fleetwood
2017 was an unforgettable year for Englishman Tommy Fleetwood as he capped an impressive 12 months on the golf course by tieing the knot with long-term partner and manager, Clare.
He enters this week aiming to emulate Rory McIlroy (2014 and 2015) in winning the Race to Dubai in consecutive seasons. As one of the most likeable players in Tour, expect rapturous applause if he does manage to get over the line.
Tommy talks about his magnificent 2017 R2D win below...
Surprisingly, Justin Rose has decided to give the European Tour finale a miss so that means Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood will face-off at the head of affairs and remain the only men who can win the Harry Vardon trophy this week.
The Italian has a cushion of 1,025,166 points and will be most observers' favourite. He can't rest on his laurels just yet as his 'MoliWood' bro Fleetwood can retain the title by emerging victorious and the Open champion finishing worse than T-5.
Former dual R2D champions in Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson tee it up this week, as well as former event winners Matt Fitzpatrick and Jon Rahm. Two high-profile Americans will be in the mix for possible tournament winners with both Xander Schauffele and Patrick Reed in attendance for the four days of play.
Who wins it?
We were close last week when choosing the Chinese superstar Haotong Li to do well at the Nedbank Golf Challenge; let's go even closer this week.
Leading Chance: Haotong Li
OK, so let's first cover off that we accept Rory will likely go well around a course he knows inside-out and that Jon Rahm will likely perform strongly despite only one start in almost two months.
While that's the case, we are waiting for Haotong Li to get over the line and feel it's only a matter of time until he adds to his two European Tour wins to date. In his last five outings, Li has finished outside the top ten once - and that was a T-11 at the WGC-HSBC in Shanghai.
Lively Outsider: Rafa Cabrera-Bello
In a season where Rafa has been attempting to acclimatise himself to the rigours of life on the PGA Tour, his form on the European Tour has fallen short of that he managed in 2017.
As they say, form is temporary, class is permanent. We expect a good showing from Rafa soon.
Who do you think will win the DP World Tour Championship? Who will take the Race to Dubai title? Let us know below.