Kim signs up, Lefty ponders European move

With US$20 million up for grabs in next year’s Race to Dubai, the European Tour appears to have perked the interest of a few high-profile Americans.

Rising star Anthony Kim has already indicated that he would like to play in Europe next season, and now Phil Mickelson says he is inclined towards gaining European Tour membership.

The Race to Dubai replaces the European Tour’s Order of Merit. It starts in November and culminates next year with the Dubai World Championship, where the $20 million is at stake.

From 2010 onwards, the European calendar will start from January, instead of November.

Mickelson, a three-time major winner, said the US PGA Tour is stagnating and he hopes to play the 12 European events that will make him eligible to contest the Dubai finale. Talking by phone to AFP about whether the Singapore Open would become part of the European set-up, he said:

“It would be very helpful for me because I love playing in Singapore. If it were to become a European Tour event it would be great for me as it would be included as one of the now 12 events that you need to play to become a European Tour member. Although I haven’t yet joined the European Tour, it is something I am certainly considering.”

Kim is one of a number of PGA Tour regulars who have signed up for Europe. Among the others is Colombian sensation Camilo Villegas.

Kim, 23, established himself as a top-class golfer in 2008, winning two PGA tournaments and rising to number eight in the world.

He paid the European Tour membership fee of £3,280, enabling him to try his hand at qualifying for the Dubai World Championship.

Spain’s Sergio Garcia said in an AP article that he expects other players to move across the pond to play more European events. He said:

“Anytime you get players from the calibre of Camilo and Anthony into the tour, it’s great. Some of the tournaments we play in the Middle East … are bigger than the ones they play in the US. You get good players there, so world rankings points increase. At the end of the day, that’s what the big players do it for.”

Although some of the biggest names in golf are set to boost the European Tour, the biggest of them all, Tiger Woods, is unlikely to be among them. Woods has already said that his schedule would not allow him the time to meet Race to Dubai qualifications.

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