Category: Dubai World Championship

November 03, 2013

Els to skip Dubai event in protest of Euro Tour rules

Posted at 9:01 PM by Pete Madden
Ernie Els
Credit: Getty Images


Ernie Els is upset, and he's passing up a chance at a big payday to make his point.

The 44-year-old South African will skip next week's DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in protest of new European Tour rules requiring its members to play two out of the three events leading up to the season finale in order to remain eligible for its $8 million prize.

"Why would they make a decision like that and expect guys to play?" asked the four-time major champion and former World No. 1, according to Andrew Both of Reuters. "It's farcical. In my view it's an absolute joke.

I can see (the tour's point of view) but it's crazy. I've been playing both tours since 1994 and it's been no problem but for some reason now the European Tour expect us to play a full schedule.

We used to play seven events and you could keep your card in Europe. Now you have to play more than in America. (That is) the direction they're going in. I just think it's the wrong one.

I'm going to have to look at my schedule. I was there for the growth of this tour, 22 years, and now they've making it almost impossible for me… to remain playing the tour."

In recent years, The European Tour has struggled to retain some of its top non-European talent as elite players without Ryder Cup aspirations leave to seek bigger purses on the wealthier PGA Tour. 2013 Masters Champion Adam Scott of Australia gave up his membership several years ago, while Els -- currently 14th in the Race to Dubai standings -- has grown into one of the tour's most respected veterans.

Asked how European Tour officials reacted to the news that he would not play in Dubai, Els said: "I don't think they really care."

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November 27, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Donald saw echoes of Tiger in McIlroy's Dubai win

Posted at 2:59 PM by Samantha Glover

Rory_lukeLuke Donald and Rory McIlroy at the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday. (Getty Images)

After losing to Rory McIlroy in the final round of the DP World Tour Championship, Luke Donald said that McIlroy's performance reminded him of Tiger Woods in his prime, according to an ESPN report.

McIlroy, who began the day tied for the lead with Donald and then trailed Justin Rose on the back nine, made birdies in his final five holes to secure a victory.

Rose, who shot a course-record 62 on Sunday, was magnanimous in defeat. "I thought I had him, but he's class," admitted the Englishman.

Donald, who faded for a share of third with Charl Schwartzel, went even further. "That was like Tiger Woods in his prime," said the world No. 2. "To able to do that when needed, that is the sign of a great. "It was extremely impressive and it shows us all how hard we will have to work to stay up with him."

McIlroy's win at Dubai was his fifth of the season, including the PGA Championship. He has won the PGA of America's Player of the Year award and the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average, and he's expected to be named the PGA Tour Player of the Year later this month.

November 25, 2012

Rory McIlroy wins Dubai World Championship for fifth title of season

Posted at 8:39 AM by

P1-RoryRory McIlroy put an exclamation point on his historic 2012 season, with a two-shot win over Justin Rose on Sunday at the European Tour's season finale in Dubai.

Before he even teed it up this week, McIlroy had already wrapped up the European Tour money title and the season-long points race, the Race to Dubai. But he didn't just go through the motions in his final event of the year.

McIlroy opened with rounds of 66-67-66 before finishing with another round of six-under 66.

Rose shot 10-under 62 on Sunday to finish 21 under, and McIlroy made birdies on his last five holes to beat him. McIlroy also battled Luke Donald, No. 2 in the world, for the lead over first three days.

Coming off a win last week at the Dunlop Phoenix Open on the Japanese Tour, Donald was also in good form. Dating back to last year, Donald was bogey-free for 100 consecutive holes on the Jumeirah Golf Estates, the host course in Dubai.

RELATED PHOTOS: McIlroy's Historic 2012 Season in Review

It was McIlroy's fifth win of the year, and since winning his second major title at the PGA Championship in August, McIlroy has added three wins and three other top-10 finishes in eight events. McIlroy was coming off a missed cut at last week's Hong Kong Open, and he admitted he was feeling lethargic after a whirlwind season of traveling the globe and taking a firm hold on the No. 1 ranking. In the last month alone, McIlroy has played events in China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai.

But as is typical with the 23-year-old phenom, he shrugged off the bad week and showed once again why he's the best player in the game.

McIlroy heads into the brief off-season with the No. 1 ranking firmly in hand. He's expected to make his 2013 season debut at the same event where he began this year, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which begins Jan. 17.

RELATED PHOTOS: McIlroy's Career in Pictures

(Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

December 29, 2010

Truth and Rumors: Tournament of Champions Lacks Champions

Posted at 11:47 AM by Steve Beslow

Hyundai Tournament of Chump-ions?

It's no secret that Tour pros (especially European Tour pros and guys named Tiger and Phil) are getting increasingly picky about what tournaments they're willing to play these days. Still, you'd think that the prospect of a vastly limited field, a $5.6 million purse, and warm Hawaiian beaches would be more than enough to attract even the most elusive pro golfer. For the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, that just isn't the case. From NBC's Ryan Ballengee:

Unfortunately, they won’t really get their wish. Few of the big names who made 2010 unforgettable are remembering to play at Kapalua next week.

Phil Mickelson will send his regular regrets to not attend. PGA Champion (and birthday boy on Tuesday) Martin Kaymer has better things to do in Spain. Rory McIlroy isn’t taking the flight. Lee Westwood? No, thanks.

Even Open Champion – and new PGA Tour member – Louis Oosthuizen said no.

Among the Euros, many of whom were competing into December, want a longer rest than just a month. And that means the PGA Tour’s season start is hurt as much of the international elite now starts their year in the Arabian desert.

Even though it seems natural to start the year off with such an elite field, that only works when the elite field actually shows up. As much as golf writers love Geoff Ogilvy (and we do), there's little evidence that fans are clamoring for him to three-peat at any tournament, especially one that supposedly only features the best of the best. The Euro Tour owns the winter months, and since the PGA Tour seems more than willing to cede them November and December, maybe it's time to give up on January too. I hear Abu Dhabi is lovely this time of year.

Trumped Golf

Donald Trump has had his fingers in just about every honey jar imaginable over the past few decades, but recently golf courses have taken an increasingly important role in the Trumpster's portfolio as he continues to build new tracks and buy distressed courses to add to his empire. Bloomberg's John Gittelsohn and Nadja Brandt wonder whether or not the Trump brand provides the premium it once did for luxury developments.

Trump has acquired nine golf properties in the U.S., including four since 2008, after mostly steering clear of using his own money to buy real estate since 2005. In July, he started building a 750 million-pound ($1.15 billion) luxury golf course and resort in Scotland. Trump says that putting his name on the courses increases membership sales and the fees he can charge.

Trump is expanding his golf holdings as the number of private clubs in the U.S. fell to 4,256 this year, down 3.4 percent from 2008, according to the National Golf Foundation. In addition to owning courses, he also stars in “Donald J. Trump’s Fabulous World of Golf” on the Golf Channel, which starts its second season Jan 31.

The Trump name hasn’t prevented a decline in initiation fees at Trump clubs as the recession weighs on consumers’ discretionary spending. At the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey, for example, initiation fees have dropped as low as $150,000 today from as high as $300,000 before the recession, Donald Trump said.

Does making a golf course a Trump course really increase its value? I don't know, and it sounds like the fine people at Bloomberg don't really know either. The important takeaway here is that the market for golf courses is still in the tank (and will be for the foreseeable future), but that's not stopping the Donald from trading in his condos for clubhouses. And it's certainly not stopping him from infuriating entire counties. But I suppose in times like these we all need to do what we do best.

Tweet of the Day

Today's winner is PGA Tour pro and fitness guru Kris Blanks:

@Kris BlanksKris_Blanks: I have a house full of junk food and liquor and I just ate a banana with an amino vital supplement drink. I had better play good next year!

November 28, 2010

Karlsson: 'That's not the way you want to win'

Posted at 1:42 PM by

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- So, four days of battle in the desert of Dubai came down to the toss of a coin on the 18th green. And Sweden's Robert Karlsson was eventually declared winner of the $1.25 million first prize at the Dubai World Championship. The coin was Ian Poulter's ball marker, and it flipped over after the Englishman dropped his ball on it. One-shot penalty. Game over. "It was my lucky marker, too," he said taking defeat graciously. "Shame it has just ended the way it has. Hey-ho," he said shrugging his shoulders.

The Swede said he felt sympathy for Poulter. "Those things happen in golf," Karlsson said. "It's not the way you want to win. It's very harsh. In one way, that's the purity of the game. We have harsh rules and actually follow them, compared to some other sports. That's the beauty of the game in one way. But it's not great when these things happen, especially under these circumstances."

This was Karlsson's second victory of the year and a welcome return to form for the 2008 European No.1. He spent much of 2009 and early 2010 suffering with glandular fever and with fluid in his left eye. "My vision was like when you come up from being underwater -- all fuzzy," he said.

He started the final round three shots behind overnight leader Poulter but got off to a flier. He started birdie, birdie, eagle -- holing an 8-iron to take the lead. But it took a holed putt on the 18th and a wait on the range to see if anyone could pass him. "I didn't know if I needed to hole it or anything," Karlsson said. "So it was probably better that way for me." Poulter's birdie chance at the last shaved the hole. Playoff. Poulter's coin clanger. Victory. "It's a strange day," Karlsson said.

The amiable, deep-thinking Karlsson once called himself a quitter. But he has turned into a fighter. "I was an angry golfer for a while, but now I am European No. 1," he said in 2008. "I worked it out." And now he has done it again.

-- Paul Mahoney

Kaymer is Europe's No.1; wins Race to Dubai

Posted at 8:26 AM by Paul Mahoney

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- You win some; you lose some. Martin Kaymer didn’t win the Dubai World Championship. But he did enough to stay ahead of Graeme McDowell to win the Race to Dubai, the European Tour’s money list, and with it a $1.5 million bonus. Kaymer didn’t beat Lee Westwood in the race to be World No.1 either. The Englishman keeps the No.1 spot for at least another week. So everybody was happy in the desert – even McDowell, who finished the season as European No.2 at the end of the greatest season of his career.

Kaymer has reached the pinnacle in Europe in only his fourth year on tour. He played his part in Europe’s victory in the Ryder Cup and won four tournaments in 2010, including three in a row starting with the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in August.

So what makes the 25-year-old German tick? Westwood hasn’t got a clue. The best he can come up with is this: “He reminds me a lot of Bernhard Langer. I’m not quite sure what’s going on in his head but it looks good,” he said laughing. “He seems very calm and controlled. It must be a German thing.”

Kaymer speaks quietly but confidently. He’s polite, helpful, approachable and charming. Modest but driven. “I never thought I would be in this position so quickly,” he said. When he turned pro in 2005 the plan was to play one year on the German Tour then two on the Challenge Tour (the European equivalent of the Nationwide Tour) before trying to get onto the European Tour. And yet here he is – ahead of schedule, feeling comfortable, part of the scene. After becoming Rookie of the Year in Europe in 2007, his goal for 2008 was to break into the World Top 50. Mission accomplished. For 2009 he targeted the Top 20. Job done. For 2010 he targeted the Top 10. He got there in January. He’s now trying hard not to think about becoming World No.1 to emulate his hero Bernhard Langer. But it’s impossible to block it out because he is constantly asked about it. “I would love to get there,” he admitted.

As well as following in the footsteps of Langer, he names Ernie Els as his role model. “I try to be always calm whether I get eagles, birdies or bogeys,” Kaymer said. “I don’t go crazy like some other players on tour. I try to be more like Ernie.” It seems to be working.

Kaymer said his main goals for 2010 were to win a Ryder Cup and a major and claim the Race to Dubai. All boxes ticked. “What a year. A lot of dreams have come true,” he said. Goals for 2011? "It would be nice to win the British Open.”

But despite such a stellar season, Kaymer is still not the most famous sportsman in Germany. And he knows it. That accolade was wrapped up when Sebastian Vettel won the Formula 1 Grand Prix championship. Kaymer just shrugged and smiled. “Nothing bothers him,” said his best friend Alvaro Quiros. Oh well, you win some; you lose some.


November 27, 2010

Casey breaks silence on Monty's Ryder Cup snub

Posted at 9:27 AM by Paul Mahoney

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Paul Casey has remained silent for three months since missing out on a place on Europe’s triumphant Ryder Cup team. But he finally aired his frustration and disappointment during the Dubai World Championship.

He said Colin Montgomerie still hasn’t spoken to him to explain why he was snubbed despite being one of the top 10 players in the world. Casey stood behind the 18th green on Friday night, and he looked and sounded hurt and angry as he explained that he expected Monty to clear the air at a pro-am dinner during the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai three weeks ago.

"I saw him there, but then he was gone," said Casey. "He knew where to find me." The perceived stand-off is all the more bizarre considering Casey was a guest at Monty’s wedding and the Scot expressed that it felt "horribly awful" not to pick his "friend" for the Ryder Cup.

The word in the locker room has been that Casey was left out because there was a perception that he is unpopular among his peers and poor at foursomes. Casey rebuked both accusations. "I've only lost two foursomes matches, and one of those was against Tiger,” he said. "Otherwise my record with David Howell and Luke Donald is 100 per cent. So me not being very good at foursomes is nonsense."

Casey was quick to point out that he has been swapping Twitter banter in Dubai with Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood. So it seems he’s getting on just fine with his Race to Dubai rivals. “If you are talking about popularity in general, that shouldn't count anyway, as it should be all about how many points you put on the board," Casey said.

Despite his disappointment with Monty’s continuing silence, he admitted that he only had himself to blame for missing out on the Ryder Cup. “I just didn’t earn enough points,” he said. “But what did hurt was the way I found out.”

Casey was in the middle of a round with Padraig Harrington at The Barclays tournament in New Jersey when the news filtered through from Gleneagles in Scotland. The Irishman had been picked; the Englishman snubbed. "I felt like shaking Paddy's hand and walking in, to be honest,” Casey said. “That’s got to change. The announcement has to be put back. It's simply unfair. I've always liked to fight back and prove someone wrong," he said.

If Monty looks at the leaderboard in Dubai, he will see Casey just four shots off the lead held by Ian Poulter at 12 under par. And Casey’s cell phone is on message alert. He said it was strange that he and Monty still haven’t spoken. “We have the same manager,” he said. Point made.


The atmosphere in Dubai is Masters meets British Open

Posted at 9:24 AM by Paul Mahoney

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- If it’s 27 degrees C (80 F) on the European Tour in November, it must be Dubai. The end-of-season World Championship has a first prize of $1.25 million. But the weekend will also determine who wins the Race to Dubai, Europe’s money list and a nice early Christmas bonus of $1.5 million.

The atmosphere at the Earth Course, designed by Greg Norman, is sports event meets garden party. The spectators are mostly Dubai’s ex-pats: Brits and South Africans, with a smattering of locals to make up crowds that swell on Friday (the first day of the weekend in the United Arab Emirates) and fall away, bizarrely, on Sunday (a working day) for the final round.

The tented village is the social heartbeat of the tournament. Two bars, a giant TV screen and hundreds of golf fans chilling out on scatter cushions on the grass or sitting on pub benches around tables with beers and Bacardis. It’s a cross between the Masters and the British Open. Ladies are resplendent in summer dresses. Men of course are sporting the universal uniform of chino shorts, polo shirts and sports shoes or flip-flop beach sandals. (They’d never allow those at Augusta.)

You know the tournament is catering to a mainly British audience when you look around at the menus: bison burger, Fat Boy Kebab, Foot-Long Euro Tour Dog, and the ubiquitous fish and chips. Of course there’s a Costa coffee bar, too, because the world just hasn’t got enough chain stores, right?

As the last putt drops each day, the band cranks up on the stage next to the giant screen. It’s tribute band heaven (or hell) in the desert. Thursday it was Vertigo murdering U2. Never mind Sunday, this was more Thursday Bloody Thursday. Friday had a Motown showdown. Poor James Brown. I Feel Good. Well, almost. Saturday, Van Morrison’s Moondance kicked off the party. Can I just have one more romance with you? Er, no, thanks.

Life is more laid back in the privileged seats in front of the clubhouse where VIPs have cute picnic tables and waiter service corralled inside a charming whitewashed picket fence. Just like June in an English village. In November in Dubai.

Meanwhile, rather appropriately, England’s Ian Poulter is leading at 12 under par after the third round. You can read all about his day, no, doubt, for the next 24 hours on his Twitter feed at @ianjamespoulter.

Cocktail, anyone?

McDowell runs out of gas in the desert

Posted at 9:15 AM by Paul Mahoney

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Frustrated, angry, exhausted. Graeme McDowell’s race to finish the year as Europe’s No.1 finally ran out of gas after the third round of the Dubai World Championship. He shot 69 and is 2 under par for the tournament, too far off the pace to make an impact in the Race to Dubai finale of the European Tour.

Playing five weeks in a row had taken its toll. McDowell was sniffling, coming down with a cold and honest enough to admit defeat.

“I’m not going to lie to you,” he said. “I’ve been playing on fumes. I just don't have a huge amount left in the tank. I don’t have the energy to be patient and to be digging deep. European No.1 is not a reality for me now. Unless I shoot 55 in the last round. I’m going to draw a line under it, drink a beer by the pool and look back on the greatest year of my career.”

It's been a year that has brought him two victories in Europe, the U.S. Open title at Pebble Beach and the clinching point at the Ryder Cup in Wales.

McDowell’s season came back to earth on the Earth course in Dubai. “The golf course hasn’t shown me much love,” he said. “It’s not really my cup of tea. Not my week. Gotta wave the white flag." After struggling to get his putter going on the front nine, he said frustration got the better of him. “I was just waiting for a taxi to get me out of there,” he said.

Next week he heads to California to play in the Chevron World Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods. But don’t expect a stellar performance from the Northern Irishman. “If the intensity this week is 10 out of 10, next week will be a few cold beers every night.”

It’s safe to say McDowell is looking forward to a break but also looking forward to the next chapter of his fast-improving career. He said he has learned much about himself this year. “I now know I am good enough,” he said. “Trying to be the best player in the world two or three years ago seemed untouchable. But if I work hard for the next two or three years, being No.1 is something I truly believe I can achieve.”

McDowell has taken his game to another level in 2010, but he is still not immune to the same demons that haunt every weekend hacker. “This game frustrates me on a regular basis, to be honest,” he said. “Even when it’s going well, this game is never far away from frustrating.” You see, U.S. Open champions are just like the rest of us.

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