Dubai: Amid all the chaos of a 2020 golf season that saw the Open Championship cancelled and the Masters played at Augusta in November, one man who has kept his cool is 2018 DP World Tour Championship winner Danny Willett.
Patience is always said to be key on a golf course, and Willett is ready to get rid of the cobwebs of a stop-start season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and go for glory at back-to-back Dubai competitions, starting on Wednesday.
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The amazing efforts of the organisers at Dubai Sports Council and the European Tour means we have two weeks of golf to enjoy to bring the curtain down on the season this year instead of just the one.
The inaugural Golf in Dubai Championship will begin on Thursday, ahead of the traditional DP World Tour Championship next week — the final Rolex
Series event on the calendar and the tournament to decide this season’s Race to Dubai winner.
Willett, who claimed the crown in 2018 on Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth Course has his sights on a different trophy this week as the Fire Course at the same complex takes its bow on the big stage.
“It’s definitely been a weird year,” said Willet on a video conference with Gulf News. “To miss out on the Open was tough, but the guys here in Dubai have saved the day with this extra competition before the season-ender next week.
“To even be here shows how much the guys have done to make sure we even had a season at all. From the European Tour, the PGA, DSC and the local authorities, I can only take my hat off to them to allow us to compete.”
As the big names roll into town, it is — interestingly — a pair of Americans who are vying for the Race to Dubai title this time around. Patrick Reed holds a commanding lead over Collin Morikawa and Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, with two weeks to go. England’s Lee Westwood, Victor Perez of France and South African veteran Louis Oosthuizen are also in the mix, and given the points on offer over the next fortnight, everything is still up for grabs.
“I think it is great to see the Americans at the top, as it shows the European tour in the correct light — the pinnacle of the sport where everyone wants to compete. Not just in North America but across Europe and out here in the Middle East,” said Willett. “If those guys are over here then this is the place to be.”