Next week the DP World Tour Championship takes over the Earth course at Dubai’s Jumeirah Golf Estates, with a host of golfing greats poised to hit the green. It’s the culmination of The Race to Dubai, a 45-tournament competition covering five continents, and only the top 60 ranked players on the night of Sunday November 18 will be eligible to compete in the US$8 million championship. The best thing about the event for spectators is that entry is entirely free throughout the whole weekend, from Thursday November 22 to Sunday 25, with the gates opening at 7am each morning.
Ones to watch
There’s no doubt all eyes will be on world number one Rory McIlroy, the young man from Holywood, Northern Ireland who has dethroned Tiger Woods as the king of golfing cool. At just 23 years old, he already has two majors to his name: he’s currently leading The Race to Dubai, and is set to emulate Luke Donald, who last season became the first player to win the money lists in both Europe and the US. Like McIlroy, Donald played a key part in Europe’s recent Ryder Cup victory, and as reigning Race to Dubai champion the Englishman is sure to get a warm welcome on his return to the course. Finally, there’s no reason to rule out 2009 DP World Tour Championship winner Lee Westwood, former Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen or last year’s tournament runner-up Paul Lawrie. There will be a potential winner no matter where you are on the course.
Dos and don’ts
More than 250 volunteer marshals will be scattered around the course to make sure fans keep quiet and stand still at the right moments, but there are a few basic pieces of golfing etiquette everyone should know.
• Keep mobile phones either turned off, or on silent.
• Don’t take photographs of the players in action – the sounds and flashes are distracting.
• Don’t drop litter anywhere on the course.
The number of shots in which a hole should ideally be completed. The first hole on the Earth course is a par 4, so expect players to take four shots or less.
A score of one stroke under par for a particular hole – for example, taking three shots on the Earth’s first hole.
A score of two stroke under par for a particular hole.
No one likes these bad boys. A bogey is when a player completes a hole in one stroke over par.
‘I see Olly’s boys are all together for the first time since the Miracle at Medinah.’
All 12 heroes of captain José Maria Olazábal’s winning Ryder Cup team will come together for the first time since they won in Chicago, so show your knowledge by nodding sagely at the mention of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Peter Hanson, Francesco Molinari, Martin Kaymer, Paul Lawrie, Sergio Garcia and Nicolas Colsaerts.
‘Have you heard about Rory’s US$250 million deal?’
There are very strong golfing rumours that McIlroy has signed a ten-year sponsorship deal with one of the world’s biggest sporting brands.
‘Of course, you know why [insert name of any player not on the line-up] isn’t playing, don’t you?’
To qualify for the championship, a player must be in the Race to Dubai’s top 60 at the end of the previous tournament, and must have played a minimum of 12 tournaments on the schedule before the Dubai event.
This golfing event is very much a series of days out, with entertainment and activities to keep everyone occupied. The par 3 17th hole will host a temporary watering hole from Left Bank, while the Championship Village will be packed full of food and drink options, as well as large screens broadcasting the action, and stands including free golf lessons for kids. Following the end of play each day (which should fall between 5pm and 7.30pm), live entertainment will be provided in the form of the Skin Tight Trio on Thursday 22, The Maplejacks on Friday 23 and Crazy Train Trio on Saturday 24. Trick-shot artist David Edwards will show off his strokes across all four days, and there will be a number of competitions, with prizes including a new BMW.
Entry is free for all four days, but attendees must register online. Gates open 7am, November 22-Sunday 25. Earth course, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Emirates Road, www.dpwtc.com (04 375 9999).