• Golf

European Tour announces Race to Dubai expansion

ESPN staff
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George O'Grady announced the decision to extend the Race to Dubai ahead of the final round at the World Tour Championship © Getty Images
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The Race to Dubai has been extended through to the 2017 season, the European Tour announced on Sunday.

With players currently vying the season-ending World Tour Championships at the Jumeirah Golf Estates, Tour officials also confirmed that next season's finale in Dubai - which replaced the Order of Merit in 2009 - will conclude at the same course, and will also showcase an increased bonus pool of $5 million.

"It was 25 years ago that I came to Dubai for the first time for the first Dubai Desert Classic," European Tour chief executive George O'Grady said. "Since then, we have helped to grow the game here and throughout the whole of the UAE while, in addition, we are also hugely supportive of Dubai's bid to win the right to host Expo 2020.

"They have rewarded us with an incredible growth of courses alongside the facilities they provide for all our players. Thanks to the leadership and vision of DP World, the tremendous contribution of everyone at Jumeirah Golf Estates, and the continued commitment of our partners, the future of The Race to Dubai is exceptionally positive.

"We have announced today extending The Race until 2017 and I've said many times that this is the perfect venue to finish our year. The climate is excellent, the facilities here are superb, and the welcome from everyone here in Dubai is simply outstanding."

Henrik Stenson currently leads the final round in Dubai, where he aims to become the first player to win the Race to Dubai and the FedEx Cup in the same season.

Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald have all won the Race to Dubai crown.

However, the 2013 event has been marred by the criticism of eligibility rules; to feature at the World Tour Championship, players must have played in two of the three preceding 'Final Series' events - the BMW Masters, HSBC Championship or the Turkish Airlines Open - in order to earn their place at the lucrative season-ending tournament.

Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia were big names to miss out following the introduction of the new Tour rulings earlier this season.

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