Whilst it does feel like professional golf is played every single week of the year these days, the 2019 season on the European Tour does actually end this week in Dubai, with the DP World Tour Championship also serving as the culmination of the season-long Race to Dubai to determine who is crowned as the European Tour's number one player.
Image Credit: Dubai Golf Website
How It All Works...
After 47 events in 31 different countries over the last twelve months, there are now just five players who are still in the running to be named as the 2019 Race to Dubai winner.
Unlike the FedEx Cup Playoffs there are no head starts on the European Tour, and there is a standard stroke play format featuring the top 50 golfers from the past season, with points, places and overall prize money determined at the end.
Image Credit: Jumeirah Golf Estates Twitter
Whilst anybody can win the DP World Tour Championship, only leader Bernd Wiesberger, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick are still in with a shout of the big prize.
Molinari won the R2D in 2018, topping off the greatest year of his career where he won on the PGA Tour, won The Open at Carnoustie, won at Wentworth and produced one of the greatest Ryder Cup performances ever seen. Not bad...
The winner of the event itself was Englishman Danny Willett, who completed a fantastic return to form 31 months after winning The Masters, having slipped outside the top 400 in the World Rankings at one stage of his slump. Despite a nervy final hole where his tee shot almost found the water, Willett eventually ran out as two-stroke winner over American Patrick Reed and fellow-countryman Matt Wallace.
The Greg Norman-designed Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates has been host to this event since its inception in 2009.
It's very much your modern-day golf course. Long, perfectly manicured, fantastic facilities, perfect for spectators, and with plenty of scope for some low scores for the pros.
Image Credit: Jumeirah Golf Estates Twitter
Despite measuring at nearly 7,700 yards, winning totals here have often surpassed -20 over the four days. So four scores in the 60s will probably be required for anyone wanting to be in the mix on Sunday afternoon.
There are quite a number of different scenarios this week in which each of the top five in the standings could run out as the eventual Race to Dubai winner. So instead of trying to explain them all, you can check out the European Tour's handy guide which goes through all of the possible outcomes.
There are only 50 players in this week's field, but as the top 50 in the year-long standings, you can be assured of some top quality. Headlining the event is the resurgent Rory McIlroy, looking to finish one of the best seasons of his career in style.
World Number Five Jon Rahm hasn't played for seven weeks, choosing to skip the WGC and Rolex Series events in the process, but will still be one of the favourites having won the Open de Espana last time out.
Major champions Francesco Molinari, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose and Shane Lowry will all be teeing it up, meaning that whoever comes out on top this week will have to be on their A-game.
Finally, the European Tour's Rookie of the Year honour is still up for grabs this week, with Robert MacIntyre, Kurt Kitayama, Adri Arnaus and Guido Migliozzi battling it out to take the prize come Sunday afternoon. MacIntyre and Kitayama are currently the front runners, at 11th and 12th place heading in, but one good week could change everything.
The Favourite - Patrick Reed @ 18/1
Reed was given a Captain's pick by Tiger Woods for the upcoming Presidents Cup and so will be looking to keep his game nice and sharp with another good showing here. Three Top 10 finishes in his last four events and has finished in the Top 10 in each of his three appearances here.
The Outsider - Lee Westwood @ 60/1
The veteran is a previous winner on this golf course and has a number of decent finishes here since, including 20th last year. Whilst his play has been a little consistent in 2019, his last two results have been T10 and T6 suggesting that he might be peaking just in time.
The Long Shot - Tom Lewis @ 80/1
Seems to love playing desert golf and has an excellent track record here, including 2018 where he led the field in greens-in-regulation. Since winning on the Korn Ferry Tour his form has improved, and 13th last week at the Nedbank was a good warm-up for a run at the big money.