The 2013 European Tour season came to an end in Dubai and one man stamped his authority in emphatic style – Henrik Stenson convincingly won the DP World Tour Championship to add a European Tour title to this year’s FedEx Cup championship on PGA Tour. Here are 5 Things to Know from Dubai.
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1. STENSON’S GLOBAL FIRST: Stenson makes history: Henrik Stenson became the first player to win the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in the same season. He earned $10 million for his FedEx feat, and picked up another $1.5 million bonus for winning the Race to Dubai. With tournament winnings, it took his season earnings to around $20 million.
Stenson earned the 985,476 euro first-place prize after a closing 64 for a 25-under-par finish and a six-shot victory in the DP World Tour Championship over Ian Poulter. He topped the 2013 European money list with 4,103,796 euros. Stenson is only the second Swedish player to win the European Tour’s order of merit, following Robert Karlsson in 2008.
“It was a great summer for me,” Stenson said. “It’s a dream week and a dream finish to an incredible season for me. It’s hard to know where I go from here but we’ll keep on trying.”
Poulter finished second in the Race to Dubai, with Justin Rose placing third.
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2. STENSON WON’T SERVE POULTER: Stenson won’t be Ian Poulter’s servant after all. The Swede had vowed to act as Poulter’s servant for a day if the Englishman overtook him and won the Race to Dubai. “That’s probably my biggest motivation, not to become his servant for a day,” Stenson said before the tournament.
Stenson gave Poulter 10-1 odds on a $100 bet with the added “servant” bonus.
Poulter put up a good fight, finishing in second. Second place on this year’s European pecking order was worth 3,172,729 euros, just more than 931,067 euros short of Stenson.
“I have to take my hat off to him,” Poulter said. “I tried to run him down but he’s been in incredible form the last six months. I just couldn’t get close enough.
“I just wanted to get in the house and take care of second place and put valuable Ryder Cup points on the board.”
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3. MCILROY ENDS ON POSITIVE: Rory McIlroy punctuated his 2013 season with a joint fifth-place finish. He closed with a 5-under-par 67 despite bogeying the first two holes. He closed out the season 35th on the money list after finishing number one last season. Nevertheless, he left Dubai happy with the state of his game.
“There’s been a lot of progression, a lot of positive signs,” McIlroy said. “If I can just score a little bit better, not waste as many shots and not getting off to bad starts like today. I feel like I’m hitting enough good shots and making enough birdies. But I need to eradicate some sloppy shots and mistakes. If I can do that, then expectations will be very high.
“I’ve learned a lot of things this year. It’s been a learning year, a very transitional year with a lot of stuff going on, new equipment and a few things off course that haven’t really helped. For the most part I’m really happy that my game’s back where I want it to be and that’s all I really care about.”
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4. EURO TOUR ANNOUNCES 48-EVENT ’14 SKED: The European Tour will visit 26 countries and stage 48 tournaments next year. The schedule was released on the final day of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, the culmination of the 2013 season.
The 2014 season begins with next week’s South African Open Championship and concludes with next year’s DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
Among the highlights are two new events on the schedule: the Made in Denmark at the Himmerland Golf and Spa Resort on Aug. 14-17, and the D+D Real Czech Masters at the Albatross Golf Resort in Prague on Aug. 21-24. Also added to the schedule for the first time is the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa on Dec. 5-8.
“I am delighted with our 2014 schedule, which perfectly showcases not only the renewed strength in depth of The European Tour, but also our influential global footprint,” said Keith Waters, the European Tour’s Chief Operating Officer and Director of International Policy.
“There is no question that we have come through a challenging period economically. For that we must thank the continued commitment and dedication of our tournament promoters and sponsors, not only in our home continent of Europe, but throughout the world.”
The Tour also announced it has extended The Race to Dubai through to 2017. The European Tour will end next year at Jumeirah Golf Estates, which will carry with it an increased bonus pool of $5 million.
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5. DUBUISSON FINISHES YEAR WITH BANG: Watch out for Frenchman Victor Dubuisson next year. He followed up his Turkish Airlines Open victory with a third-place finish in Dubai to take his season earnings to €2,031,675. The enigmatic Frenchman placed sixth on the Race to Dubai, 46 places than his best career finish of 52nd last year.