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DEREK LAWRENSION: The European Tour Grand Final isn’t perfect … but let’s enjoy it while we can

What does it say about the Race to Dubai and this week’s grand finale, the DP World Tour Championship, if world number one Jon Rahm, third in the standings and with a 1-4-1 record in three previous appearances in the event, doesn’t it? Don’t you show up?

Not fit for purpose? Or is it still full of intrigue, regardless?

Why is it still worth it?

No American has ever earned the Order of Merit, as it was previously known, and now the leadership positions are held by Collin Morikawa and Billy Horschel.

History is at stake, therefore, with the promise of a good duel between the Open champion Morikawa, who could dethrone Rahm as world number one if he also wins the Tour Championship, and Horschel, who claimed the title. from WGC-Match Play in Texas as well as Europe’s flagship event, the BMW PGA at Wentworth.

Jon Rahm has chosen to stay home rather than compete in the DP World Tour Championship

Jon Rahm has chosen to stay home rather than compete in the DP World Tour Championship

They both consider themselves global players and have made it clear how much winning the Harry Vardon Trophy would mean. The supporting cast is also quite illustrious, led by Rory McIlroy.

Why has it lost its shine

There is no question that the loss of Rahm, given his position in the rankings and the record on the field, is a massive blow. It is also worth noting that if the requirements for touring were as easy to meet in Tiger Woods’ time as they are now, he would have become the first American to win at least four times.

Uncertain future

There will be another race next year, under the auspices of the shiny new DP World Tour. From then on, who knows? In 2023, the Americans are interested in a global series of four events to be held at this time of year for the best players, in a further move to keep them out of the clutches of the Saudis.

American Collin Morikawa (above) has flown to Dubai for the final of the European Tour

American Collin Morikawa (above) has flown to Dubai for the final of the European Tour

American Collin Morikawa (above) has flown to Dubai for the final of the European Tour

It remains to be resolved with its strategic partners in Europe how that will sit with the climax of the Race to Dubai and whether the Tour Championship will be part of the series.

Meanwhile, some members of the elite are wondering why pitches to play any event in Asia, once given automatically, are currently marked as ‘TBD’. The Saudis have bought the Asian Tour, of course. This is not going to end peacefully.

Verdict

No one is pretending it’s the Open, but you only have to go back 12 months to Lee Westwood’s emotional victory, when Rahm and McIlroy were absent, to see that this is a week that invariably turns out. Given what’s coming, with the Saudi threat to split the game as clear and present danger, we should enjoy it while we can.

This could be the last we see of Olesen

What do you say to a golfer awaiting trial on sexual assault charges? When Thorbjorn Olesen’s case finally comes to court next month, it will be two and a quarter years after the alleged incident on a plane returning home from a tournament in Memphis.

On Sunday, the 31-year-old Dane played his last round of golf before the result, a commendable 66 under the circumstances, for a share of eighth place at the Aviv Dubai Championship. He received a warm hug from his playing partner Andy Sullivan after one last birdie at 18.

Thorbjorn Olesen faces an uncertain future with the Dane due to court next month

Thorbjorn Olesen faces an uncertain future with the Dane due to court next month

Thorbjorn Olesen faces an uncertain future with the Dane due to court next month

Truth be told, he didn’t know what to say to the man who was part of the European Ryder Cup team in 2018. Every question through his teeth strictly about golf must have felt like a detonation to someone who knew he couldn’t say anything. That possibly dates back to your judgment.

After some responses that started with ‘I’m sorry, but …’, he walked away and who knows when or if they will see him on tour again.

The Champions Over 50 Tour concluded in the United States on Sunday with another notable achievement for Bernhard Langer.

Not only did he clinch the overall money title for the sixth time, he posted a round of 63 during the final event to exceed his age for the first time by one shot. “It must be one of the best rounds I have ever played,” said the German.

To think that they used to consider their first five years as a senior to be haymaking. Is there anyone else in any sport who is ridiculing the supposed effects of aging to the point of this man?

On the LPGA Tour last week, a two-year lease on a Lamborghini was offered to every player who got into one, and three very happy women accomplished the feat.

It all took me almost a quarter of a century back to the day an amateur golfer playing Mill Ride at Ascot won a Lambo for an ace, watched by half the England football team.

How lucky so and so. I wonder what happened to him?

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