SINGAPORE (AP) — Europe’s top golfers will jockey for position in the Race to Dubai – and look to earn some of the $5 million in prize money – when the Singapore Open starts Thursday.
The Asian Tour event is being co-sanctioned for the first time by the European Tour, allowing players to boost their rankings before the $7.5 million, season-long contest culminates at next month’s Dubai World Championship.
“It’s very important for me because I couldn’t win the Race to Dubai if it wasn’t co-sanctioned,” Padraig Harrington said Wednesday. “And it’s not every week you get to play for $5 million.”
Harrington and Ernie Els, who both tied for second at last year’s tournament, face stiff competition from Phil Mickelson at the par-71, 7,300-yard Sentosa Golf Club.
Els, who missed a putt on the last day at the 18th hole last year that would have forced a playoff with winner Jeev Milkha Singh, is looking for his first win of the year.
“I still have nightmares about the birdie putt that I missed on 18,” the South African said. “I have won tournaments every year since I turned pro. I’m running out of time.”
Els complained that this week’s World Match Play Championship in Spain – following other scheduling conflicts in recent years – forced players to choose between the two events.
“I don’t quite understand that,” Els said. “We’ve got more controversy this week.”
Race to Dubai leaders Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy and Paul Casey are scheduled to play in Spain.