The European Tour and Leisurecorp have announced a wide-ranging partnership which will create The Dubai World Championship, the world’s richest golf tournament with a US$10,000,000 prize fund.The partnership will run initially for five years, with an option to extend for a further five years, and will include the creation of the end-of-season Dubai World Championship; an additional annual US$10,000,000 Bonus Pool; significant support for selected European Tour events; funding of The European Tour’s Physio Truck; the construction of a new International Headquarters for The European Tour at Jumeirah Golf Estates; and the creation of a global property company, in a joint initiative with Leisurecorp, to develop new tournament venues around the world.
The inaugural Dubai World Championship will take place from 19-22 November, 2009, on either the Fire or Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, UAE, with the winner earning US$1,666,660 from the US$10,000,000 prize fund.
The Dubai World Championship will provide a thrilling crescendo for spectators as it brings together the players numbered from 1 to 60 from The Race to Dubai - formerly The European Tour Order of Merit - comprising all events on The European Tour International Schedule. The Race to Dubai, which for The Dubai World Championship 2009 will start in November 2008, will provide an annual Bonus Pool starting in 2009 at US$10,000,000. The Number One player will receive US$2,000,000, the runner-up US$ 1,500,000 and the third-placed player US$1,000,000, with prizes down to the 15th player, who will earn US $250,000.
From 2010 it is anticipated that The Race to Dubai will commence in January and The Dubai World Championship will complete the season in November
The first five years of the partnership between the two organisations - which will officially start in January 2008 - will see the relationship being further cemented by the creation of a new International Headquarters for The European Tour. The purpose-built facility at Jumeirah Golf Estates will include a “Centre of Excellence”, providing a unique base for European Tour Members to practice and train at any time of the year.
The state-of-the-art fitness centre at The European Tour International Headquarters will also reflect Leisurecorp’s sponsorship of The European Tour Physio Truck, which will provide Tour Members with outstanding facilities on The Race to Dubai.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai World, the parent company of Leisurecorp, said:
“At Jumeirah Golf Estates we are creating the world’s leading residential golf community based around four of the world’s leading courses. It is absolutely fitting therefore that we should welcome the world’s leading tournament.
“This deal is yet another step in Dubai’s evolution as one of the most important golf centres anywhere in the world. From golf tourism to world-beating golf communities to world-class tournaments we can claim to offer it all.
“It also marks an important step forward in extending the Leisurecorp brand across the globe. Leisurecorp already has assets around the world, and it will become an ever more important name in the golf and wider leisure industries in the coming years.”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said:
“This is so much more than a tournament sponsorship. It is a long term partnership which will see The European Tour and Dubai joining together to significantly enhance the game world-wide and take golf to a new level for spectators everywhere.
“The scale of this agreement is testament to the vision of Dubai and its ruler His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who has recognised the dynamic role golf can play in developing the global profile of this amazing city. It is also testament to Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, who has been instrumental in turning that vision into reality.
“The Race to Dubai will bring a new dimension to The European Tour, creating great drama and theatre throughout the year as all the best players in the world are given the opportunity to compete in the world’s richest tournament - The Dubai World Championship. With the combined prize funds of The Dubai World Championship and The Race to Dubai we have the prospect of a player standing over a putt for US$3,666,660.
“Moreover as The European Tour has become ever-more global in its outlook, it has become increasingly important to us to have an international base in a strategically placed location. Dubai is a massively important and growing hub, with outstanding air links to all our locations, and the perfect place for us to offer a tailor-made service to all our Members through the “Centre of Excellence” at The European Tour International Headquarters. Furthermore, it provides a central meeting place for sponsors and promoters from all tournaments on The European Tour International Schedule.”
David Spencer, Chief Executive of Leisurecorp, said:
“The partnership agreement we have reached with The European Tour is great news for Leisurecorp, it’s great news for Dubai - and it’s also great news for The European Tour. We look forward to extending this relationship well into the future.”
Jumeirah Golf Estates has brought together the world’s leading golf and course design superstars to create Dubai’s premier residential golf community. Greg Norman, Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia and the “father of modern golf course design” Pete Dye are working on creating one of the world’s most distinctive golf developments.
Four courses - Fire, Earth, Water and Wind - will pay tribute to the power of nature, each employing the distinctive characteristics of their own surroundings to deliver their own unique challenges. They will be surrounded by the most desirable residential communities in Dubai with luxury homes distinguishable by their beauty and space both inside and out.