With the European’s best golfer sidelined with a football injury, the Race to Dubai is up for grabs. Before Rory McIlroy ‘s mishap, he was the odds on favourite to win the Harry Vardon Trophy for the third time in four years.
Working off a point system, the 2015 Race to Dubai encapsulates 47 tournaments in 26 countries and four continents. As explained by the European Tour, “the winner receives the Harry Vardon Trophy (first awarded in 1937), and a seven-year European Tour Card exemption. The winner of The Race to Dubai will secure Category 1 Membership of The European Tour similar to the winners of The Open Championship, the US Open, the US PGA Championship and the Masters Tournament. The Bonus Pool will count as Official Money on the final Race to Dubai standings.”
In addition to all the exemptions, the winner also pockets 1.25 million US dollars (1.27 million Euro) in bonus money for their trouble. Not bad for 10 months of work. Previous champions, Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, and Luke Donald were the only players to win the European Tour and PGA Tour money list. Now, that is a great way to make a living.
The current standings for the Race for Dubai have Rory McIlroy still leading. However, it is only a matter of time before someone passes the recovering champion. The current standings have Danny Willett and Louis Oosthuizen leading the field by quite a margin. With only 100,000 points separating them, it will be a tough call figuring out who will out-distance the other.
My favourite would be Danny Willett. With two wins already this year and a recent sixth place finish at The Open, this up and coming journeyman is poised to enter the stage of greatness. He has a solid game and understands that to win at the élite level takes hard work and dedication. His stats are slightly better than previous years, but with McIlroy on the sideline, Willett is ready to rise to the top of the European Tour.
There are many pundits who would suggest that Lousi Oosthuizen, Justin Rose, or Branden Grace is not out of the Race yet and I would concede that they are right. However, Willett is playing great golf at this time and if he continues to post the same numbers of late, he might seal the deal early.
There are only 14 tournaments left before the final series and Willett is ready for the home stretch. It is difficult forecasting a winner in any professional sporting event, but I select the 2015 Race to Dubai winner to be Danny Willett! Thoughts?
The Grateful Golfer / Pundit Arena