Dubai finale prize money down 25 per cent, say media reports

The Race to Dubai is still on but without the bellows of record prize money that accompanied its launch last year.

The European Tour, in its efforts to match the rival US PGA Tour in prize money and prestige, last year devised a revamped circuit, running through a calendar year and replacing the Order of Merit with a Race to Dubai.

The Race represented the qualifying run to the season-ending Dubai World Championship, initially hailed as a richest tournament in the world with US$10 million in prize money and a further $10 million in bonus payouts.

It is now being reported by several media outlets that the both amounts have been reduced by 25 per cent to $7.5 million each.

This reduces the grand finale Dubai World Championship to the equivalent of one of several PGA Tour events that offer purses of more than $7 million.

The alleged cut is being blamed on the global economic crisis that has hit the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai particularly hard.

Stories of financial woes have emerged from Dubai, a favourite being that of out-of-work expatriates, unable to pay their auto loans, driving their cars to the airport and leaving them in the car park with keys inside as they flee back to their own countries.

Golf, which Dubai has been promoting as a tourist attraction, has inevitably suffered and the European Tour is taking a hit.

However, some observers claim things could have been worse and the Tour is blessed that the grand finale is still a reality.

England’s Tour veteran Lee Westwood was quoted in the media as saying that $7.5 million is still plenty to play for. He said:

“It’s a reality check for everybody that in times like this – when there’s a credit crunch, people are struggling financially – nobody is immune. I heard before it all came out in the press that it was going from $10 million down to $7.5 million. That’s still a massive prize when you think about it. I think we’re lucky to be playing for that kind of money.”

An announcement from Tour chief George O’Grady is expected soon.

The PGA Tour has not been without its problems as well. Last week marked the last Buick Open with sponsor General Motors pulling out because of the economic crisis.

One Response to “Dubai finale prize money down 25 per cent, say media reports”

  1. mikethaisun says:

    Isn’t it about time prize money got back to reality. I heard a comment from a commentator talking about the prize money earned in the USA. He reckoned that an average professional without winning or being in the top ten all season could still earn in excess of a million dollars a year.

    These top guys have earned enough to bankroll a third world country, if its only titles they want, give them the title and give the money to a deserving cause.

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