European Tour to introduce new 'Final Series'
The European Tour are to introduce a final series of four big-money events at the end of next season – two in China, one in Turkey and then one in Dubai.
Total prize money of almost €19 million will be offer at the BMW Masters, WGC-HSBC Champions, Turkish Open and the DP World Tour Championship.
In a bid to strengthen the fields as much as possible, players will only be eligible for the season-ending showdown if they compete in two of the first three – and if they are at all three, then their points on the ‘Race to Dubai’ money list will receive a 20 per cent bonus.
Tour chief executive George O’Grady said: “The introduction of ‘The Final Series’ and the associated changes to the structure are being made to bring even more drama and excitement to the conclusion of our season and to further enhance the ‘Race to Dubai’.
Level of commitment
“We felt there had to be an additional level of commitment from the membership to these important tournaments, hence the new regulation.
“The response from our leading players to this change has been extremely encouraging and we take confidence from their support as we look to continue the positive evolution of the European Tour in an extremely challenging economic climate.”
This season’s money list race was settled two weeks ago when Rory McIlroy came third at the Singapore Open and the revised schedule makes that less likely.
World number one McIlroy also caused controversy by staying away from the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai at the start of this month, preferring to play a one-day match against Tiger Woods elsewhere in China before flying off to watch girlfriend Carolina Wozniacki play tennis in Bulgaria.
The financial problems across Europe are reflected in the fact that Spain has gone from seven tournaments last year to only one next season.
That is the Spanish Open on April 18th-21st at a venue yet to be announced, although Miguel Angel Jimenez is still hoping to continue with the Andalucian Open he promotes.
The only event in England all year will be the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on May 16-19. South Africa has replaced Spain as the jewel in the Tour crown after being given six tournaments. The Irish Open at Carton House will take place on June 27th.