European Tour finale to boast richest prize in golf

The DP World Tour Championship in Dubai will offer a bigger first prize this year than the one Francesco Molinari earned for becoming Open champion at Carnoustie last summer. Picture: Jane  Barlow/PA
The DP World Tour Championship in Dubai will offer a bigger first prize this year than the one Francesco Molinari earned for becoming Open champion at Carnoustie last summer. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA
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The largest first prize in the history of golf will be up for grabs in this season’s DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour’s season-ending event in Dubai.

The winner at Jumeirah Golf Estates in November will pick up a cheque for $3 million, eclipsing the cash prizes on offer in the four majors.

More than double the amount won by Danny Willett when he triumphed in the event last November, the whopping rise is part of a series of changes to the final three Rolex Series events this season.

They are aimed at encouraging more top players to tee up in those tournaments, as well as giving more players a chance of winning the Race to Dubai as the season reaches its conclusion.

“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,” said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley.

“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.”

The Turkish Airlines Open and the Nedbank Golf Challenge, the two other Rolex Series events at the end of the season, have also seen their first prizes substantially 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 for $2.5 million, double what Lee Westwood earned for his triumph at Sun City last year.

With positions on the Race to Dubai now determined on points, these will also rise significantly. The total number available at each tournament will be : 9,000 at the Turkish Airlines Open (up from 7,000); 10,000 at the Nedbank Golf Challenge (up from 7,500); and 12,000 at the DP World Tour Championship (up from 8,000).

In addition, the field sizes for the final three events of the season have been revised and reduced to show a clear progression from event to event.

The leading 70 players from the Race to Dubai will play in Turkey, the leading 60 competing in South Africa, and the leading 50 - a reduction of 10 - lining up in Dubai.

The final change is in relation to the Bonus Pool which is distributed at the end of the season.

It 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.

“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,” added Pelley.

The biggest first prize in the majors last year was the $2.16 million won by Brooks Koepka as he made a successful defence of the US Open title at Shinnecock Hills last year.

The American also picked up a cheque for almost $2 million for his US PGA Championship victory at Bellerive.

Molinari earned $1,890,000 for his Open Championship victory at Carnoustie while winning The Masters earned Patrick Reed a pay-day worth $1,813,523.