The European Tour today unveiled a new look Final Series as part of The 2016 Race to Dubai, with the Nedbank Golf Challenge forming part of a revamped three-tournament end of season swing.
Since its inception in 2013, the Final Series has comprised four tournaments, but from next year the WGC-HSBC Champions will no longer be included, with the tournament instead joining the WGC-Cadillac Championship and the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship as part of the regular Race to Dubai season.
That move means the 2016 Final Series will begin with the $7million Turkish Airlines Open from November 3-6 followed by the $7million Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City, in South Africa, from November 10-13, before The Race to Dubai once again concludes with the $8million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, from November 17-20.
The global schedule for the eighth edition of the season-long Race to Dubai was announced at a press conference at Jumeriah Golf Estates on the eve of this year’s DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
It consists of 45 tournaments in 25 different countries, with EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM (January 14-17), the Olympic Games (August 11-14) and The Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National (September 30-October 2) all adding to the drama on the world stage in 2016.
The Australian PGA Championship, which takes place from December 3-6, 2015, and the inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia (February 18-21) both feature on The Race to Dubai for the first time, while the Perth International (February 25-28) returns having last been played in 2014.
The 2016 Race to Dubai begins next week, November 26-29, with the Alfred Dunhill Championship, which is one of six events on South African soil, with the Nedbank Golf Challenge featuring twice, first as part of initial sector, from December 3-6, 2015, and again as part of the Final Series for the first time.
For the second consecutive year, Ernie Els will host the South African Open Championship (January 7-10), the first tournament of the 2016 calendar year, with the four-time Major Champion one of four players to perform the role of tournament host on The 2016 Race to Dubai; along with Rory McIlroy, who takes the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation to The K Club (May 19-22), Paul Lawrie who will return to Murcar Golf Club in Aberdeen for the second staging of the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play (August 4-7), and Luke Donald, who has selected The Grove as the venue for the British Masters supported by Sky Sports (October 13-16).
Those latter three tournaments are part of stretch of 17 consecutive ‘regular’ European Tour events on European soil from May to October – outside the American majors – a run which includes the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club (May 26-29), the centenary edition of the Alstom Open de France (June 30-July 3) and Made in Denmark, which marks the end of the Ryder Cup qualification race, from August 25-28.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “We are delighted to announce the new-look Final Series as part of The 2016 Race to Dubai. The inclusion of the Nedbank Golf Challenge means we can look forward to visiting Turkey, South Africa and Dubai in an exciting end to the season, with our players competing for $22million across these three events.
“The Final Series will bring the curtain down on another strong Race to Dubai schedule in which The European Tour will visit 26 different countries around the world. Europe continues to underpin The Race to Dubai, with 20 tournaments in total on European soil, but undoubtedly the strength of our relationships with the Asian Tour, Sunshine Tour and the PGA Tour of Australasia are also key components in creating a Race to Dubai with a truly global footprint.
“While the Olympic Games in August provided certain challenges in terms of overall scheduling, we nevertheless look forward to golf’s return to the Games in Rio in August as yet another reason to view the new season with excitement.
“With the second staging of the EurAsia Cup in January and Europe’s defence of The Ryder Cup at the end of September also adding to the drama, the 2016 season promises to be a memorable year in terms of team golf as well as in the individual arena for our members.”