This European Tour biggie is breaking up Moliwood.
Moliwood was the moniker given to the USA-crushing Ryder Cup duo of Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood.
The Race To Dubai comes to a star-studded finale this week starting Thursday morning at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai to determine the No. 1 player in Europe. Molinari and Fleetwood are No. 1 and 2 and both control their destinies at the DP World Tour Championship.
Rory McIlroy was the last guy to win back-to-back (’14-’15) and Fleetwood will try and match that, he won it all last year after Jon Rahm captured the tournament title.
Molinari, the reigning Open champion, leads in the Race followed by Fleetwood.
There’s a huge absence from the elite field of the top 60 players from the European Tour. Justin Rose, ranked third, is skipping this huge event.
Rose gave a cryptic sounding excuse: “I have a lot going on the next couple weeks, so it (playing in Dubai) would be a big shift for me. It might become apparent next year, but there are things that I need to kind of get figured out.”
One of those things Rose might be trying to “figure out” is new equipment. He’s set to switch to a set of Honma irons although rumor has it he will still keep hitting his TaylorMade metals.
That means the next-to-last pairing on Thursday, right in front of Molinari and Fleetwood, will be two Americans — Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele. Reed’s fourth in the Race To Dubai points, Xander is fifth.
Rory McIlroy is in the field after a so-so performance last week at the Nedbank Challenge where he finished in an unimpressive tie for 21st. His performance, or lack thereof, has continued to be a head-scratcher in the world of golf. jRory also had some bad news to drop on the European Tour. Thanks to the compressed PGA Tour schedule and the move of the PGA Championship to May, they’re going to see less of Rory on the European circuit.
McIlroy said on Tuesday he intends to play only two full-field European Tour events in the first half of 2019 because of changes in the tournament schedule.
The three-time Race to Dubai champion said he’ll be spending most of his time in the U.S. because the Players’ Championship and the U.S. PGA Championship have been brought forward to March and May respectively. That has pushed the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, to September.
“It is the result of the changes,” he said. “I don’t have to commit to anything until May, so I will not have played a European Tour event. I will play the WGCs and majors and events like that, but the true European Tour season does not start until July.”