The Majors may be done but there’s still plenty of top-draw – and far more accessible – golf for Middle East fans to look forward to before 2017 is dusted.
We’re just a week – and the Wyndham Championship starting in Greensboro overnight – away from the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs, culminating in the Tour Championship (Aug. 21-24) at Eastlake G.C. in Atlanta.
A week later golf’s global focus will shift to the Presidents Cup. Thomas Bjorn’s European Ryder Cup hopefuls are, of course, ineligible for the biennial event but will be especially interested in how Nick Price’s Internationals fare against an increasingly formidable Team USA line-up at Liberty National G.C., in New Jersey City from Sept. 28 – Oct.1.
Closer to home the European Tour unusually has two events on the go this week – the Fiji International (co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour and PGA of Australasia) and the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play.
Then begins a 13-event countdown to its own season decider, the DP World Tour Championship.
The November 16-19 event at Jumeirah Golf Estates (JGE) in Dubai brings together the top-60 players in the Race to Dubai standings following the penultimate Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player the previous week.
Reigning Abu Dhabi champion Tommy Fleetwood currently heads the R2D standings in a top-10 (Fleetwood, Garcia, Rahm, Cabrera-Bello, Noren, Francesco Molinari, Rose, Fisher, McIlroy, Wiesberger) that promises another mouth-watering four-day circumnavigation of JGE’s Earth course.
McIlroy’s participation is in some doubt following his injury revelation after last week’s 99th PGA Championship but the R2D again looks set to go to the wire.
The DP World Tour Championship might be the climax of the European Tour season but it’s just the start of a busy winter for Middle East fans with the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters (Dec. 6-9), Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship (Jan. 18-21), Omega Dubai Desert Classic (Jan. 25-28) and the 2nd Sharjah Senior Masters bringing many of the world’s leading players to the UAE.
Before the main tour events, the European Challenge Tour’s two final events – the Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge (Oct. 25-28) and NBO Golf Classic Grand Final (Nov. 1-4) – will be played at Al Hamra and Almouj Golf respectively.
There’s also the first of two Ladies European Tour events when Saadiyat Beach G.C. hosts the 2nd Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open from Nov. 1-4.
The Qatar Ladies Masters scheduled for later in November is now reportedly unlikely to go ahead. Likewise, the European Tour has said it will be guided by the UK Home Office with regards to the 2018 Qatar Masters.
Golf Digest Middle East understands the Qatar Masters, traditionally the middle event of the early-season Desert Swing, will be moved to a date after the Abu Dhabi and the Desert Classic if it is staged at all. The European Tour is set to release its 2017-18 season schedule in late October at the earliest.