The season-ending DP World Tour Championship is to become the richest prize in world golf after the European Tour announced that the winner will now pocket $3 million, an increase of 125 per cent from the $1.33 million won by Danny Willett in November.
The DP World Tour Championship, a Rolex Series event, will also feature an even more exclusive player field than ever before as it will reduce from 60 to the top 50 players on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
The creation of the largest first prize in the history of golf was one of several changes announced including an amendment to the US$5million Race to Dubai Bonus Pool, which will now be divided amongst the top five players in the Race to Dubai instead of the top ten, with the 2019 winner claiming $2 million, up from the $1.25 million claimed by Francesco Molinari last year.
The changes mean the tantalizing prospect of one player potentially walking away from Jumeirah Golf Estates US$5 million richer if they win both the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai.
The two Rolex Series events preceding the DP World Tour Championship on the schedule – the Turkish Airlines Open from November 7-10 and the Nedbank Golf Challenge presented by Gary Player from November 14-17 – have also seen their first prizes significantly increased.
The winner of the Turkish Airlines Open will now go home with $2 million (up from the $1.16 million won by Justin Rose in 2018); while the champion at the Nedbank Golf Challenge will receive a cheque to the tune of $2.5 million (up from the $1.25 million won by Lee Westwood in 2018).
The field sizes for the final three events of the season have also been revised, with the top 70 on the Race to Dubai qualifying for Turkey, the top 60 progressing to South Africa and the leading 50 competing in Dubai.
European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley will hope such changes can attract some of the game’s biggest stars, with Rory McIlroy having only committed to play two regular events in 2019 to date.
“The changes we have announced today in terms of enhanced winner’s cheques, Race to Dubai points and Bonus Pool dividend are designed to increase the excitement around the end of the season for our fans, as well as encourage greater top player participation in our final three events,” Pelley said.
“We have undertaken significant analysis recently and have found that, had these additional Race to Dubai points been available over the past five years, on average between five and 16 players would have come to our final event with a chance of winning the Race to Dubai, in addition to an average of 43 players having the chance to earn Bonus Pool money at the end of the season; both numbers considerably higher than was actually the case in those years.
“With the revised prize money breakdown and the extra Race to Dubai points in place for 2019, this provides a tremendous incentive for our players.”
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