The top 50 golfers of this year's European Tour are fighting for the final of the season this week DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, It's worth $ 2 million to the winner.
For some players, the even bigger prize wins the race to Dubai 2019, the European Tour Championship where this tournament takes place often determines,
The European Tour traditionally played a subordinate role PGA Tour in the United States, where the prize money was higher. While The money for the European Tour has increased, tradition and prestige remain important to many players.
Francesco Molinari from Italy, who won the race to Dubai for the first Time last year said the history of the European Tour means that its No. 1 counts for more than just money.
"It's an amazing list of past champions, and sometimes I can't believe my name is now by their side," he said. "It makes me proud to think about it."
Originally known as European Tour Order of Merit, he listed the players based on the prize money they earned, with the winner receiving the Harry Vardon trophy, named after the man who won open the United States and six British Opens in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In 2009 it became the race to Dubai. The prize money earned in each of its 47 tournaments is converted into points and weighted according to the status of the event. Winning the race also entails prize money and has increased significantly over the years.
When Peter Oosterhuis of England won his fourth consecutive Order of Merit crown in 1974, winning $ 49,500 for the entire season with no bonus for winning the race. Last year, Molinari earned $ 5.73 million for the season, including a $ 1.25 million racing bonus.
The top five players in this year's Dubai race will receive $ 5 million in bonus money, of which $ 2 million will go to the winner.
Molinari's win at the British Open in 2018 prepared him to win the Race to Dubai and to like golfers Severiano Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy as previous winners who The No. 1 of the European Tour, Montgomerie holds the recording With eight Wins.
"It was a very special honor to end the best year of my career so far," said Molinari. “I was very proud to win the race to Dubai and it was a wonderful year of success. I think being Europe's No. 1 has been a year-round recognition – nothing will limit the particular feelings of winning the Open and Ryder Cup, but it's definitely a very proud achievement. "
The status of the European Tour was strengthened in the late 1970s by a strong generation of players. Ballesteros, Langer, Lyle, Faldo and Ian Woosnam won 16 Majors out 1979 to 1996.
Expansion of the Ryder Cup team in Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1979 Including players from continental Europe was also crucial to improve the reputation of the European Tour. six Years later, Europe struck the United States – the first Time America had lost since then 1957 – and Europe won 11 of the 16 Meeting since.
The tour has long since expanded outside of Europe. The Tunisian Open was that first event to be added, 1982and from the tournaments of the race to Dubai 2019, including that four Majors and the four Golf World Championships More tournaments are played at events outside Europe as inside.
As a result, it is not an exclusively European struggle to be number 1 on the European Tour. Just like the PGA Tour, it is open to all nationalities and has always been a breeding ground for players from all over the world.
Greg Norman, the australian former world number 1 and twice the British Open champion, won the Order of Merit in 1982and the South Africans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen Everyone won it twice in a row in the 2000s.
The record $ 15 million for this year's winner of the The FedEx Cup series dominated the headlines at the end of the season in the United States, but in a way the European Tour and the race for European No. 1 has become more relevant due to the calendar.
The FedEx series ends in August and benefits the European Tour by allowing it to present its finals without having to compete for airtime with PGA Tour events.
Bernd Wiesberger Austria leads the race to Dubai Tommy Fleetwood from England, Jon Rahm from Spain, Shane Lowry from Ireland and Matthew Fitzpatrick from England still in dispute.
Wiesberger who won three Tournaments this year, winning the Race to Dubai said "would be an amazing feat for me and my team."
"Most of the great European champions won this title, so it would be a great privilege and honor to add my name to this list," he said.
“I missed most of the 2018 season due to injuries. At the beginning of the season, my main goal was to get back to where I left in early 2018.
“I had a bad start to the season in terms of performance, but I managed to change that in late spring. I then got some great results and made the game for the title a realistic goal. "
Rahm is in third place despite having six weeks off and going to Dubai. The break reduced his chances of scoring, but Rahm knew that he would be fresh for the big one in the end. If he wins, he is the first Spanish player to win the race since 1991.
“It would be a little more special in Europe just because the last Spaniard to win the race to Dubai was Seve Ballesteros, ”he said in 2017 as he struggled to win. "Neither Sergio [Garcia] Yet [Jose Maria] Olazabal did it. "
Lowry won his first major this summer by winning the British Open, and recently said he would like to finish the year number one.
"My main goal over the next few weeks is to do as well as possible," he said. “It would be nice if I could reach the last 18 holes in Dubai and win the race to Dubai.
"To be No. 1 European would be really special and would prolong the year I had," he said. "I think it would be the icing on the cake."