Reality check on the Race to Dubai
Friday, August 21, 2009
AKRON, Ohio – The Guardian reported that the Dubai World Championship purse and season-ending “Race to Dubai” bonus pool each would be cut from $10 million to $7.5 million because of economic troubles at Leisurecorp, the Dubai-based developer and sponsor.
“The agreement is proceeding as planned,” the European Tour said in a statement, “but (chief executive) George O’Grady (pictured) will be visiting the region in the very near future.”
The shifting economic sands in the Middle East will reveal an economic model in decline. The original deal was $170 million, over five years – $10 million per year for the Dubai World Championship, a $10 million annual bonus pool and a $70 million slush fund.
However, it was all predicated on the sale of luxury homes. In Dubai, like much of the world, that well has run dry.
Players first reacted to the news at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational:
Lee Westwood: “It’s a reality check for everybody that in times like this when there’s a credit crunch, people are struggling financially, that nobody is immune."
Darren Clarke: “As lucky as we are, we’ve got to be understanding.”
Tiger Woods: “It’s not just here in the United States. It’s globally.”
Henrik Stenson: “We’re fortunate to make a great living. We will still do that if some prize funds go down the next couple of years.”