The End Of The Road: Dubai

By Les Bailey
Rory McIlroy
Brian Spurlock-US Presswire

A journey that started eleven months ago, and crossed 24 countries on five continents ends this weekend at The Jumeirah Golf Estates in The DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. 57 of the greatest players on the European and Asian Tours will get together and determine how to divide up an $8,000,000 dollar purse, and a $ 3,750,000 dollar bonus pool awarded to the top ten finishers in points.

World Number one, and Race To Dubai points leader Rory McIlroy made it to town early for a little rest and an opportunity to work on his putting game. McIlroy four putted the 18th green at the UBS Hong Kong Open on Friday to miss the cut and make an early exit from a tournament where he was the defending champion. He said the rest of his game is still pretty strong, he just needed to get the flat stick back on track.

Luke Donald, who has quietly moved back into second place in Official World Golf Rankings(OWGS) this past week with his third world victory of the year at the Dunlop Phoenix on the Japan Tour comes to Dubai eighth in points. Ian Poulter is fifth in points, and comes off of a runner up finish at the Australian Masters last weekend to winner Adam Scott. Henrik Stenson joins the field after his first European Tour victory in over five years at the SA Open Championship.

The star studded field includes 52 European Tour Champions with two victories each this year that includes, Peter Hanson, Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Lawrie and Bernd Wiesberger. Oosthuizen lost in two playoffs, at The Masters to Bubba Watson, and Matteo Manassero at the Barclays Singapore Open two weeks ago.

Also on tap at the Earth Course this week will be five former European Tour number ones, Lee Westwood, Three time Major Champion Padraig Harrington, Justin Rose, 2010 PGA Champion Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald. If you are into championship golf, this is the tournament for you. As the 2012 golf season comes to a close, this will be some of the best golf  since the FedEx Championship and the Ryder Cup.

Teeing it up Thursday will also be last weeks 48 year old UBS Hong Kong champion, Miguel Angel Jimenez. Jimenez became the oldest winner in European Tour history. He will be joined by his runner up and Barclays Singapore Open Champion, Italy’s young teenage star, Matteo Manassero. He comes to Dubai 13th in points and is looking to take advantage of a late season run to put some pressure on the leaders.

The 7675 yard Jumeirah Golf Estates Earth Course was opened in 2009 for the DP World Championship, Dubai, and designed by Greg Norman. The golf course is located 20 miles South of the City Centre.

The large undulating greens are seeded in Tifeagle Berbudagrass, and typically run around 12 on the Stimpmeter.The fairways are Bermuda grass Tifway 419, overseeded with Rye. The course has 102 bunkers, and features 20 lakes, and two meandering streams to catch wayward shots. Following a varied and complex run of holes from the 8th to the 14th, the players will arrive on the 15th tee at the start of the final four holes which make up what Greg Norman has dubbed ‘the most challenging mile in golf’.

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