With three months to go until the third Race to Dubai reaches a grand finale at the 2011 Dubai World Championship presented by DP World, European Tour officials are already confident of providing a venue in prime condition to welcome the finest players in the world.
David Garland, the Tour’s Director of Tour Operations, gave a resounding vote of confidence to the demanding Earth course during a recent visit to the Jumeirah Golf Estates, which will once again stage the final tournament of The Race to Dubai from December 8-11.
Garland and Graeme MacNiven, the Tour’s Deputy Director of Agronomy conducted a full course inspection over a couple of days and revealed the course might be about to bite back and give the field of 60 professionals their toughest test since the event was first staged in 2009.
“The Earth course has matured in all aspects since its official opening and the inaugural Dubai World Championship,” said Garland. “The greens are now truer as the levels are more consistent, the fairways are a little denser in grass cover and the trees, shrubs and other flora are all much bigger thus penalising errant shots more.
“Although there have been no major other changes to the course, the agronomy team is overseeding this year due to the later staging date, which will provide a tougher and more consistent rough than the last two years.”
Last year saw around 50,000 spectators flock to the Greg Norman-designed course for the second staging of an event won by 2008 European Number One Robert Karlsson of Sweden after a play-off with Ian Poulter of England.
With 13 counting tournaments remaining – including this week’s KLM Open – before the end of season climax, England’s Luke Donald currently leads The Race to Dubai from Northern Ireland’s US Open Champion Rory McIlroy with Charl Schwartzel – the 2011 Masters Champion – from South Africa in third place.
The top 60 players in the standings will battle for the $7.5 million prize fund and $7.5 million Bonus Pool, which will be shared by the players in the top 15 places after the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World.
Garland commented: “The tournament has quickly found its own identity and personality and become a very popular experience for the public thanks to the undoubted quality of the field as well as the fantastic attractions off the course.”