Golf’s biggest first prize teed up by European Tour for Dubai event

Danny Willett with the World Tour trophy, which he won last year. Picture: Andrew RedingtonDanny Willett with the World Tour trophy, which he won last year. Picture: Andrew Redington
Danny Willett with the World Tour trophy, which he won last year. Picture: Andrew Redington
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 over the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in November will pick up a cheque for $3 million, eclipsing the cash prizes on offer in the four majors and also the $2.25m reward awaiting the victor in this year’s Players Championship at Sawgrass.

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

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In addition to the increased purse in Dubai, the winners of the two preceding events – the Turkish Airlines Open and Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa – will now collect $2 million and $2.5million respectively following 
similar big rises to the first-place cheque at the same time as the overall prize pot in the three events remaining the same.

The changes are aimed at encouraging more top 
players to tee up in those tournaments – Rory McIlroy, for example, has only committed to play two regular events in 2019 to date – 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 the 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.”

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.

A $5 million bonus pool will now be divided between the final top five on the Race to Dubai, rather than the top ten, with the 2019 winner earning $2 million, up from the 
$1.25 million claimed by Italian 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. The American, who enjoyed a stellar year in 2018, also picked up a cheque for almost $2 million for his US PGA Championship victory at Bellerive later in the season.

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