European Points Race restarts in Abu Dhabi
The European Tour begins its season at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship – the first of four Rolex Series events on the 2021 Race to Dubai – and will offer players the chance to earn points on the European Points List for the first time since the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in March 2020.
As per the revised qualification criteria, all points earned on both the European and World Points list will be multiplied by 1.5 until May 9. All points earned from May 12 to September 12 will be multiplied by two.
Before the postponement of European qualifying, Tommy Fleetwood (3,927.42), Jon Rahm (3,747.50), Rory McIlroy (2,679.44) and Victor Perez (2,669.95) occupied the four qualifying places on the European Points List, with all but Jon Rahm playing this week in the Middle East.
However, with the revised criteria and some 238 days to go until qualifying closes, there is ample time for European golfers to make their move and qualify for Captain Pádraig Harrington’s team at Whistling Straits in September.
Captain Harrington is also in the field this week and will no doubt be keeping an eye on performances in the first Rolex Series event of the year.
Harrington said: “With eight months of golf, I’m looking at different players, stats, who is playing well, who is coming into form, who are the young guys?
"An extra year for the young guys is so important as they can go from serious talents to mature talents inside a year.
"And I’m still hoping for that one rookie who jumps out and has a miraculous year and is a star when it comes to The Ryder Cup.
"You need those guys in the team because they don’t just play good golf, they bring enthusiasm."
World Points qualifying continued on the PGA Tour at the Sony Open last week, with only Sergio Garcia making a slight move as he leapfrogged 2019 Open Champion Shane Lowry to move into 14th place on 53.60 points.
Europe’s all-time leading points scorer finished in a tie for 47th in Hawaii, as he sandwiched opening and closing rounds of level par 70 with rounds of 66 and 64.
Tyrrell Hatton (144.55 points), Danny Willett (92.68 points), Matthew Fitzpatrick (91.11 points), Lee Westwood (79.38 points) and Bernd Wiesberger (73.75 points) currently occupy the five qualifying places on the World Points List.