The Race to Dubai’s Final Series kicks off with this week’s BMW Masters, where seven of the victorious European Ryder Cup team will be in action.
Thomas Bjørn, Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson, Stephen Gallacher, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose are all present for the US$7million event at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, China, the first of four lucrative tournaments to finish the 2014 season.
Paul McGinley, the man who captained Europe to glory at Gleneagles, is also in the field, and in a promotional stunt on Wednesday he teamed up with Rose on a tandem bicycle to race against Poulter and home favourite Wu Ashun, who were in one of the new BMW i8 cars.
The real business starts on Thursday, however, and over the next four weeks 40 million points are on offer as the Final Series continues with the WGC-HSBC Champions, the Turkish Airlines Open by the Ministry of Youth and Sport and the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
“I’m not sure I can catch (leader) Rory (McIlroy) in The Race to Dubai, but the Bonus Pool runs deep down to 15th and I want to strengthen my world ranking as much as possible. If I can play well and maybe win a couple of tournaments between now and the end of the season, I could probably get up to second in the world, which would be a personal best. So there’s always something to play for.
“It was my first time on a tandem and I was hanging on for dear life! It was definitely something different. BMW do a fantastic job of hosting tournaments all around the world. They’ve got such a consistent brand and consistent way of delivering things, and the way they put together all the infrastructure and promotional stuff is incredible. They are an exciting company to work with and be a part of, and we golfers very much appreciate the support they give the Tour.”
“It’s always nice to come back to Asia and I’ve got a decent record here. I’ve played well on this golf course in the past, so I’m looking forward to getting going. I’ve been in China for five days, and opening the golf course with Justin was great fun. We had a little match play competition yesterday and he managed to beat me 3 and 2, so it would be nice if I can go one up on him this week.
“Golf in China has grown immensely, and more and more golf courses are being designed. The Chinese Golf Association have done a fantastic job with their programme. Every year we get to play more and more with Chinese players, and they are getting better and better. Long may it continue.”
“The next four weeks will be very exciting with lots of prize money and world ranking points on offer at four great events. We play a long season with many events, and this is what it all comes down to. Hopefully I can play well and get my hands on one of the trophies.”
“The Ryder Cup was an incredible experience and definitely stayed in my system for a couple of weeks afterwards, but now I can’t wait to get back to regular stroke play on The European Tour and I’ll be trying to finish what has been a great season on a high. We’ve got four massive events coming up with lots at stake. I’ve been working very hard at home to ensure I can put in some good performances over the next few weeks.”
Source: European Tour, Image courtesy of Getty Images