It’s the last week of the regular European Tour season. The top 110 players on the Race to Dubai at the conclusion of the ISPS HANDA Perth International in Australia will retain playing rights for 2015.
South Korea’s Jin Jeong, the 2010 British Amateur Champion, will defend the title against a strong field at Lake Karrinyup Country Club, which includes major champions Charl Schwartzel, Geoff Ogilvy and Jason Dufner, Ryder Cup ace Victor Dubuisson and 2014 Valero Texas Open winner Steven Bowditch.
Here are three key things to look out for this week in Perth:
1. All three major champions in the field have something to prove. 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel has only won twice since that Major triumph and those victories came in the same tournament — the Alfred Dunhill Championships of 2013 and 2014, back in his native South Africa. Jason Dufner is making a return to competitive action for the first time since recovering from the neck injury that prevented him defending his USPGA Championship title in August. Australian Geoff Ogilvy rarely plays on the regular European Tour. The 2006 U.S. Open winner has enjoyed a welcome return to form in 2014 — winning the PGA Tour’s Barracuda Championship and finishing tied second in the Deutsche Bank Championship. He’ll be out for victory on home soil.
2. At the end of this week, the top 110 on the Race to Dubai will retain their cards for 2015. Those around the bubble face a tense week’s competition. Watch out for some sweaty palms and twitchy putting come Sunday afternoon. While some fight for their European Tour survival, others have loftier targets. The top-60 on the Race to Dubai standings will qualify to play in the lucrative, season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Many players around the 60 mark have elected not to play this week, giving those who have made the journey an opportunity to steal a march. Talented Dane Thorbjorn Olesen — currently in 64th place, and England’s David Horsey — currently 65th, could secure their spots in Dubai with a victory here.
3. Frenchman Victor Dubuisson has been a revelation over the last year. He made a name for himself on the European Tour by winning last November’s Turkish Airlines Open and finishing third at the DP World Tour Championship. He then announced himself on a global stage by reaching the final of the 2014 WGC-Accenture Match Play. He was a talisman for Europe at the Ryder Cup and has risen to 22nd on the Official World Golf Ranking. On top of that, he plays with a stylish nonchalance and flare seldom seen in the professional game since the days of Seve. Allez V-Dub!