Sports Outside the Beltway

European Tour to include FedEx Cup-style format in ’09

Who says Europe doesn’t copy America’s bad ideas?

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Taking a page from the PGA Tour’s new FedEx Cup format, the European Tour will produce a similarly styled points system, entitled “Race to Dubai” beginning in 2009.

The new schedule will culminate with the season-ending Dubai World Championship, featuring a $10 million purse — the richest in the history of professional golf.

“The Race to Dubai will bring a new dimension to the European Tour, creating great drama and theatre throughout the year as all the best players in the world are given the opportunity to compete in the world’s richest tournament — the Dubai World Championship,” said George O’Grady, chief executive of the European Tour. “With the combined prize funds of the Dubai World Championship and the Race to Dubai we have the prospect of a player standing over a putt for $3,666,660.”

The Dubai World Championship will include the top 60 players in the Race to Dubai — formerly the European Tour Order of Merit — comprising all events on The European Tour International Schedule. The No. 1 player will receive $2 million, the runner-up $1.5 million, and the third-place player $1 million, with prizes down to the 15th player, who will earn $250,000.

The inaugural event will take place Nov. 19-22, 2009, on either the Fire or Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.

If European players actively take part in it, The Race to Dubai could cause excitement. Fan interest on the PGA Tour is centered around the majors and Tiger Woods. From what I know about the European Tour fans, support is broader. I still think the Fedex gimmick will be history in ten years or less. The Road to Dubai could have a brighter future.

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