The 2009 European Tour was the 38th series of golf tournaments since the European Tour officially began in 1972. There were major changes for the 2009 season as the tour entered a partnership agreement with Dubai based Leisurecorp. The Order of Merit was renamed the Race to Dubai with the addition of a new season ending tournament, the Dubai World Championship, being contested by the leading 60 players after the penultimate event for a US$7.5 million prize fund and a US$7.5 million bonus pool.
The 2009 season consisted of 54 official money tournaments, an increase of four from the previous year, although three events were ultimately cancelled. This included eight major championships and World Golf Championships, which are also sanctioned by the PGA Tour. 27 events took place in Europe, 14 in Asia, 6 in the United States, 3 in South Africa and 3 in Australia. There were two new tournaments, the Moravia Silesia Open in the Czech Republic and the Dubai World Championship.
The Race to Dubai was won by Lee Westwood, who finished as European number one for the second time. He won the season ending Dubai World Championship to overtake Rory McIlroy in the standings. Westwood was also named Golfer of the Year, with Chris Wood being named the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year, having recorded a 3rd-place finish in The Open Championship on his way to 44th on the end of season money list.
Table of results
The table below shows the 2009 schedule. There were 54 official money events, of which the first five events took place in late 2008. The season ran for 55 weeks, with a two-week break over Christmas and the New Year, and four weeks when no event was scheduled. There were four weeks when two official money events were played, with alternative tournaments being held alongside the majors and World Golf Championships, and a late co-sanctioning agreement with the Australian Masters. Due to plans to realign the schedule with the calendar year for 2010, the HSBC Champions, Hong Kong Open and the Australian Masters were held twice during the 2009 season. The HSBC Champions became a World Golf Championships event effective with its November 2009 edition.
The 2009 schedule included five events held late in the previous year, with the tour travelling outside of Europe until the Madeira Island Open in mid-March. Away from Europe, there were two regular events and one WGC event in China plus two in Hong Kong, China; three events in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates; three in Australia; and single events in Qatar, Malaysia, Indonesia, and South Korea; plus the United States-based major championships and WGC events. One event that was due to be held in India was cancelled.
In December 2008 the Indian Masters, scheduled for February, was cancelled due to fallout from the ongoing financial crisis, and then in January 2009 it was announced that the revival of the English Open, scheduled for August, would be postponed for at least two years after developers of the St. Mellion International Resort ran into financial difficulties. In May it was announced that due to lack of sponsorship the British Masters had also been dropped from the schedule, with the Austrian Open being rescheduled from June to take its place on the calendar in September.
The numbers in brackets after the winners' names show the number of career wins they had on the European Tour up to and including that event. This is only shown for members of the European Tour. To give such a number for non-members would misrepresent the amount of time some international golfers spend on the European Tour; as the Tour co-sanctions the major championships and World Golf Championships events, some top players accumulate a significant number of wins in European Tour sanctioned events without really playing on it. For example, Tiger Woods has won nearly 40 events sanctioned by the European Tour, but has never played a sufficient number of European Tour-sanctioned events to qualify for membership.
- The tournament was scheduled to end on 21 June, but heavy rains during the event pushed the final round back to the following day.
- The tournament was scheduled to end on 4 October, but play on Saturday, 3 October was called off due to gale-force winds at all three courses. The third round was played on Sunday and the final round on Monday.
Race to Dubai
In 2009, the Order of Merit was rebranded as the Race To Dubai, with a bonus pool of $7.5 million (originally $10 million) to be distributed among the top 15 players at the end of the season, of which the winner received $1.5 million (originally $2 million). The new name reflects the addition of a new season ending tournament, the Dubai World Championship, held at the end of November in Dubai. The tournament also had a $7.5 million prize fund (originally $10 million), and was contested by the leading 60 players in the race following the seasons penultimate event, the Hong Kong Open. The winner of the Race To Dubai also receives a ten-year European Tour exemption, while the winner of the Dubai World Championship tournament receives a five-year European Tour exemption. The reduction in prize money, announced in September 2009, was due to the global economic downturn.
The following table shows the final Race to Dubai standings for 2009, including the top 15 players who qualified for the bonus pool.
|Rank||Player||Country||Events||Prize money (€)|
|2||Rory McIlroy||Northern Ireland||25||3,610,020|
|11||Ernie Els||South Africa||17||1,571,577|
Golfer of the Month
The winners of the European Tour Golfer of the Month Award were as follows:
|January||Rory McIlroy||Northern Ireland|
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