Reigning Open champion Collin Morikawa and four-time major winner Rory McIlroy are the star attractions at the Earth Course in Dubai. Words and stats by Andy Swales...
"It's rare for this event to crown a champion who is not among the Tour's elite and other pros to enjoy solid Earth Course form are Patrick Reed, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry and Sergio Garcia."
For a 13th straight year, the finale to the European Tour season takes place over the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.
At the conclusion of this week's DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour will crown its number one golfer for 2021.
And, over the next few days, this prestigious and lucrative event will reach new heights thanks largely to the total amount of prize money on offer.
The prize fund for this week's tournament has been increased by $1m, bringing the total pot to $9m. Of this, the eventual champion will receive a cheque in excess of $3.2m.
In addition to the incredible amount of cash on offer this weekend, the player who stands top of the Race to Dubai standings on Sunday evening will receive the prestigious Harry Vardon Trophy as the European Tour's No 1 golfer for 2021.
On the tee
The bountiful prize fund has attracted a good field, although Tour chief Keith Pelley will be disappointed by the absence of world No 1 Jon Rahm and Norway's Viktor Hovland, both of whom qualified for this event only to withdraw.
That said, American Collin Morikawa - the reigning Open champion - has travelled across the Atlantic to tee-up, along with Rory McIlroy who missed last year's tournament.
McIlroy will certainly fancy his chances at a venue where he has already triumphed twice.
The 32-year-old, who is a four-time winner in Dubai, has played pretty well since the start of August, highlighted by his recent victory at The CJ Cup in Nevada.
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Another two-time champion over the Earth Course is last year's winner Matt Fitzpatrick.
The world No 28 won at Valderrama last month and still has a mathematical chance to finish the season as the Tour's No 1 golfer.
It's rare for this event to crown a champion who is not among the Tour's elite and other pros to enjoy solid Earth Course form are Patrick Reed, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry and Sergio Garcia.
Of this quartet, Garcia finished seventh recently on the PGA Tour in Mexico, while Reed was a runner-up in Bermuda.
Finally, the 2018 champion Danny Willett has a habit of winning big events, even if his week-to-week consistency is not brilliant, while long-driving Dean Burmester certainly has the tools to perform well on this layout.
The South African has twice tied-fourth here, so another each-way finish is definitely on the cards.
The Greg Norman-designed Earth Course was built to entice the big hitters and promote attacking golf.
Its fairways are wide, while trees and dense vegetation is hardly an issue.
Putting surfaces are big, quick and undulating, while many of the Great White Shark's greens are guarded by large, deep sand bunkers.
Water has an impact on just five holes, with four of these arriving deep into the back nine.
Although the Earth Course is long, it has not prevented 'short-hitter' Matt Fitzpatrick from winning here twice - most recently last December.
Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive
MC* - Missed Additional 54-Hole Cut
Note: List Contains Leading Reserves
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Last 10 Weeks / Earth Course Form (2011-20)
|Min Woo Lee||4||8||2||39||58||MC|
|Joachim B Hansen||1||17||11||15||24||MC||22||20|
|Min Woo Lee|
|Joachim B Hansen||43||36|
|No of Starters:||65||50||60||60||60||60||60||56||56||58|