Southport golfer in three-way battle to be crowned top player in Europe

Ruben Hill
November 14, 2017

Last week's victor Branden Grace tees it up this week in a very strong field including all of the European Tour's biggest names barring Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson.

It was a much different scene back then, as the prize was awarded to the player with the lowest scoring average in seven major tournaments, including the Open Championship.

Tommy Fleetwood has led the Race To Dubai since way back in January, and after bagging a top-10 finish at last week's Nedbank Challenge in South Africa the Englishman extended his lead at the summit to a whopping 256,737 points after taking his overall tally to 4,235,987 points.

To be fair, Garcia didn't even realise his odds were as good.

"I don't know how I'll feel this week".

Dubai is a tournament that I really want. I can't control what other people do. So I'm not expecting to finish 40th or 50th.

"To be totally honest, I see a two per cent chance of me winning the Race to Dubai". I can live with it.

Whoever is triumphant will follow in the footsteps of the all-time greats of European golf in completing the lengthy, essentially year-long "international schedule" as the top player.

Garcia, who in his first season as a pro, finished runners up to Tiger Woods in the US PGA championship and made the Europe's Ryder Cup team, has neither won the DP World Tour Championship in his previous six attempts nor the Race to Dubai title.

After almost 12 months of hard work and toil - and the occasional slice of top notch golf - the European Tour campaign boils down to its curtain-call event: the DP World Tour Championship from Dubai.

Alex Noren of Sweden chips on to the 5th green. Indeed, that year, like this, he played in 12 European Tour events.

Lee Westwood of England walks with caddie Billy Foster.

While the PGA Tour Champions is catching flak for its playoff system, one that enabled Kevin Sutherland's sole victory to defeat Bernhard Langer's marvelous seven-win campaign, there won't be any controversy involved with the European Tour's Race to Dubai coronation this week.

"Winning the Race to Dubai is great but I'm not going to change my whole life for it". Seems those days are long gone, if Sergio Garcia's attitude is anything to go by.

"What I'm going to do is I'm going to go out there and try to do what I do every week, which is to play the best I can play and give myself the best option of winning this week". At the end of the week, we'll see what happens.

Garcia's immediate future is complicated, however slightly, by the fact he is playing a first tournament with clubs from a new manufacturer.

What is changing is Garcia's equipment after his 15-year association with TaylorMade came to an end, with the Spaniard suggesting lucrative deals given to other players was a key factor.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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