The Race to Dubai has reached the home straight and only three players are still in the running
The Race to Dubai has reached the home straight, and only three players are still in the running.
Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose or Sergio Garcia will be Europe's No. 1 player for 2017 after the final event of the season on the European Tour, this week's DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Fleetwood holds the lead by 256,737 points, but knows he will be overtaken if either of his two challengers wins at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
"As much as it depends on what they do, it is in my hands," said Fleetwood, who has led the Race to Dubai standings for most of the season following his win in Abu Dhabi in January. "I can take it out of everybody's hands, but we'll see. It's great to be in this position."
The Englishman would have clinched the season title by winning the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City last week, but finished in 10th place.
Neither Rose nor Garcia played in South Africa and should be fresher in Dubai, with Fleetwood having played each of the final four events of the European Tour's season — the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, the Turkish Airlines Open, the Nedbank and the World Tour Championship.
"That's going to be key this week, especially when you get to Sunday," said Rose, who won in China and Turkey to stay alive in the Race to Dubai. "It's a long, grueling race ... it's a lot on the body and it's a lot on the system for the guys.
"So, I just felt like the week off, in my mind, could be valuable."
That might be an indirect message to Fleetwood, who took on his busy recent schedule on top of becoming a father for the first time in September.
"It's not a burden. I don't feel stressed about it. I don't feel anxious," Fleetwood said of being the man to topple this week. "I just think it's great that I've got the chance to win it, and a good chance."
Rose won the Race to Dubai title in 2007, under its previous guise as the Order of Merit when the rankings were based on prize money. It would be the first title for both Fleetwood and Garcia, who has won the Dubai Desert Classic, the Masters and the Andalucia Valderrama Masters.
Henrik Stenson (2013, '16) and Rory McIlroy (2012, '14, '15) have won the title over the last five years.
Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80
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