Dubai retains European Tour season- ending event for next three seasons

dubai world championship
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Property developer DP World will take over the title sponsorship of the European Tour's season-ending tournament.
PA Sport

Series: European Tour

Published: Monday, December 12, 2011 | 8:03 p.m.

The European Tour's season-ending event in Dubai is secure for the next three years -- with increased prize money.

Next year's tournament will be on Nov. 22-25, with the prize fund going up from $7.4 million to just over $7.8 million and a first prize of $1.31 million rather than $1.24 million.

However, no announcement has yet been made about the bonus pool awarded to the top 15 players on the final Order of Merit. That amounted to a further $7.4 million this year.

"We will do that at a later date, but it's secure," said European Tour Chief Executive George O'Grady. "We're talking to many different parties. It's the second part of the agreement and not completely finalized."

There will be a change of name in 2012, from the Dubai World Championship to the DP World Tour Championship Dubai, but the event continues at the Jumeirah Estates development.

The first staging of the tournament was in 2009 and it was originally intended to be the richest golf event in history, with a $10 million purse and the same amount in the bonus pool. Both the region and the global economy then hit troubled times, of course, and both figures were reduced.

The European Tour, of course, currently boasts the top four players in the world rankings in Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, and the event will continue to be restricted to the leading 60 money-winners during the season.

O'Grady described it as a "tremendous achievement" to have the sponsorship deal extended.

"We have received applications for alternatives from several different countries," he said, "but in DP World and (property developers) Nakheel we have two incredibly strong partners who are fully dedicated to the future success."

O'Grady also said that he "did not foresee a change for next year" in the Tour's logo following the death of Seve Ballesteros in May.

There were calls from the likes of Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie for the logo to be changed from one of Harry Vardon, Open champion a record six times between 1896 and 1914. But O'Grady said there was a strategy of "ancient and modern" in the use of Vardon's image.