The Dubai World Championship is still there. But wait. Valderrama is back. It's a great venue, so that's good news. But given the chatter in Spain last October that Jaime Patiño's masterpiece was being spruced up in the event of a Dubai meltdown, the phrase "contingency plan" jumps readily to mind.
Whatever happens in Dubai, Spain will have six events on the European Tour schedule next season. That's five more than England and twice as many as Scotland.
And they said that Ireland was asked to do too much...
Two events are TBAs (to be announced) and one is TBC (to be confirmed) in the case of the venue for April's Madrid Masters.
Three other events have yet to confirm their dates, the Volvo China Open [perhaps they don't fancy the week after the Masters] and the Volvo World Matchplay [September 16-19?], which will again be played at the Finca Corstin. The JBWere (Australian) Masters is also waiting for a date.
The biggest plus is that the press release confirms that "the second edition of the Dubai World Championship will again carry a prize fund of $7,500,000 while The Race to Dubai Bonus Pool remains at $7,500,000."
Of course, things change quite quickly in the world of professional golf administration.
Searching for Valderrama on my laptop, I came across a European Tour press release dated 16 March 2007.
Valderrama to host Volvo Masters through to 2010
The Volvo Masters celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with the announcement that The European Tour's season finale with continue at Club de Golf Valderrama for at least a further three years until 2010.
By November 2008, the Volvo Masters was history and the tour was off on "a long term partnership which will see The European Tour and Dubai joining together to significantly enhance the game world-wide and take golf to a new level for spectators everywhere."
That was the year the scribes were busy scribbling obituaries for Seve Ballesteros, who is still going strong. The Spaniard, no doubt, will be keen to accept an invitation from the R & A to play in next year's Open Champions' Challenge at St Andrews.
Given the success of the inaugural Race to Dubai, it would be a shame if were derailed by the global economic crisis before getting out of the station. But in the heady world of international golf administration, nothing is ever certain.
THE RACE TO DUBAI ON THE 2010 EUROPEAN TOUR INTERNATIONAL SCHEDULE
Dec 10‐13 Alfred Dunhill Championship Leopard Creek CC, Malelane, South Africa
17‐20 South African Open Championship Pearl Valley Golf Estates, Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa
Jan 7‐10 Africa Open East London GC, East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa
14‐17 Joburg Open Royal Johannesburg & Kensington GC, Johannesburg, South Africa
21‐24 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, UAE
28‐ 31 Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy Doha GC, Doha, Qatar
Feb 4‐7 Omega Dubai Desert Classic Emirates GC, Dubai, UAE
11‐14 Avantha Masters DLF G&CC, New Delhi, India
17‐21 WGC ‐ Accenture Match Play Championship Ritz‐Carlton GC, Dove Mountain ‐ Marana, Arizona, USA
Mar 4‐7 Maybank Malaysian Open Kuala Lumpur G&CC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
11‐14 WGC – CA Championship Doral Golf Resort & Spa, A Marriott Resort ‐ Doral, Florida, USA
18‐21 Hassan II Golf Trophy Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Morocco
25‐28 Open de Andalucia de Golf Parador de Málaga Golf, Málaga, Spain
Apr 1‐4 Estoril Open de Portugal Penha Longa GC, Linho Sintra, Estoril, Portugal
8‐11 MASTERS TOURNAMENT Augusta National, Georgia, USA
8‐11 Madeira Islands Open BPI ‐ Portugal Porto Santo Golfe, Madeira, Portugal
15‐18 TBA TBA (Volvo China Open?????)
22‐25 Ballantine's Championship Pinx GC, Jeju Island, South Korea
29 – 2 May Open de España Real Club de Golf de Sevilla, Seville, Spain
May 6‐9 BMW Italian Open Royal Park I Roveri, Turin, Italy
13‐16 Open Cala Millor Mallorca Pula GC, Son Servera, Mallorca, Spain
20‐23 BMW PGA CHAMPIONSHIP Wentworth Club, Surrey, England
27‐30 Madrid Masters Venue ‐ to be confirmed
Jun 3‐6 The Celtic Manor Wales Open The Celtic Manor Resort, City of Newport, Wales
10‐13 Austrian Golf Open Fontana GC, Vienna, Austria
17‐20 US OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, California, USA
17‐20 SAINT‐OMER OPEN presented by Neuflize OBC Aa Saint Omer GC, Lumbres, France
24‐27 BMW International Open Golfclub München Eichenried, Munich, Germany
Jul 1‐4 Alstom Open de France Le Golf National, Paris, France
8‐11 The Barclays Scottish Open Loch Lomond GC, Glasgow, Scotland
15‐18 THE 139th OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP Old Course, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland
22‐25 Nordea Scandinavian Masters Bro Hof Slott GC, Stockholm, Sweden
29‐1 Aug 3 Irish Open Killarney Golf & Fishing Club, Killarney, Co Kerry, Ireland
Aug 5‐8 WGC – Bridgestone Invitational Firestone CC, Akron, Ohio, USA
12‐15 US PGA CHAMPIONSHIP Whistling Straits, Kohler, WI, USA
19‐22 Czech Open 2010 Prosper Golf Resort, Čeladná, Czech Republic
26‐29 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland
Sept 2‐5 Omega European Masters Crans‐sur‐Sierre, Crans Montana, Switzerland
9‐12 KLM Open Hilversumsche GC, Hilversum, The Netherlands
16‐19 TBA TBA
23‐26 The Vivendi Venue ‐ to be confirmed
Oct 1‐3 THE RYDER CUP The Celtic Manor Resort, City of Newport, Wales
7‐10 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship Old Course, St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, Scotland
14‐17 Portugal Masters Oceanico Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura, Portugal
21‐24 CASTELLÓ MASTERS Costa Azahar Club de Campo del Mediterráneo, Castellón, Valencia, Spain
28‐31 Andalucia Masters Club de Golf Valderrama, Sotogrande, Spain
Nov 4‐7 WGC ‐ HSBC Champions Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China
11‐14 Barclays Singapore Open The Tanjong & The Serapong, Sentosa GC, Singapore
18‐21 Hong Kong Open Hong Kong GC, Fanling, Hong Kong
25‐28 DUBAI WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, UAE
Dates to be confirmed
Volvo China Open Jinji Lake International GC, Sozhou, China
Volvo World Match Play Championship Finca Cortesin GC, Casares, Spain
JBWere Masters Kingston Heath GC, Melbourne, Australia