Biggest top prize in golf of £2.3m announced by European Tour
Golf’s biggest first prize will be awarded at the European Tour’s season-ending event in Dubai in November.
The winner will net $3m (£2.3m), an increase of $1.67m on the amount won by Englishman Danny Willett last year.
The aim is to encourage more big name players to complete the Race to Dubai.
Last year world number one Justin Rose skipped the tournament at Jumeirah Golf Estates because he had no chance of overhauling Francesco Molinari for the overall Race to Dubai title.
Only two players, Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood, still had the opportunity of winning the season-long money list by the time players arrived in the Middle East for the closing event.
The overall prize fund remains at $8m (£6.2m) but the field will be cut from 60 to the top 50 on the money list. The distribution of the prize money will be top loaded to provide the sport’s largest winner’s cheque for an individual tournament.
It is one of a series of changes announced by the European Tour for the climax of 2019 season. There are also significant increases for finishing first at the Turkish Airlines Open and South Africa’s Nedbank Challenge.
The champion in Turkey will take home $2m and the following week at Sun City the winner will collect $2.5m.
Again, the total prize funds for both tournaments remain unaltered but the fields will be reduced, with 70 men at the Turkish event and 60 in South Africa.
“The changes we have announced 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, as well as encourage greater top player participation in our final three events,” said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley.
Pelley added: “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.”
Previously the top 10 finishers on the Race to Dubai shared the bonus pool of $5m, but now that sum will be split between only the leading five finishers.
Whoever tops the standings will receive an additional $2m compared with the $1.25m won by Molinari last year. – bbc.com