Our special coverage of the closest race for years
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10 Oct 2012 15:14 GMT
The Race to Dubai is the ultimate prize on the European tour. It is awarded to the golfer with the greatest prize money at the end of the tour. Rory McIroy currently leads the race although South Africa(***)s Branden Grace is closing him down.
In 2011, England(***)s Luke Donald won both the US PGA Tour money list and the Race to Dubai. His closest rival, Rory McIlroy, handed the European prize to Donald when he failed to win the season finale, the Dubai World Championship.
Martin Kaymer was the man who holed the putt to give Europe victory in the 2012 Ryder Cup. However, 2010 was also a big year for the German golfer. On the back of his US PGA Championship win, he held off Ireland(***)s Graham McDowell to win the Race of Dubai.
In 2009, Rory McIlroy(***)s youthful aspirations were thwarted by England(***)s Lee Westwood. Then only 20, McIlroy led Westwood going into the Dubai World Championship but couldn(***)t compete as Westwood shot a course record 64 to finish on 23 under par.
Before Dubai, the top European prize was known as the Order of Merit. The prize was still awarded to the golfer who won the most money on the European Tour. In 2008, Robert Karlson shrugged off Lee Westwood to become the first Swede to the win the Order of Merit title.
Winner of the 2006 tournament, Ireland(***)s Padraig Harrington couldn(***)t achive back-to-back victories when Justin Rose won the Order of Merit for the first time in 2007. Rose knew he had already claimed the award when he went into a three way playoff for the Volvo Masters, but he managed to win that too!
With eight to his name, Scotland(***)s Colin Montgomerie has won the most Order of Merit awards. The first came in 1993 and the last in 2005. He is also the third highest money earner on the European Tour of all time with over $30 million of winnings. There(***)s good money in golf, eh!
Another man known for his prowess on the European golf tour was the late and great Seve Ballesteros. The Spaniard won six Order of Merit awards, the last coming in 1991. Next in the all-time list comes England(***)s Peter Oosterhuis (4) and Scotland(***)s Sandy Lyle (3).
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