Harrington and Garcia commit to tour

Harrington and Garcia commit to tour

Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia have thrown their weight behind the inaugural Race to Dubai and indicated that the big-money Dubai World Championship would see them making more appearances in Europe.

The 2009 European Tour and the inaugural Race to Dubai was launched today and features a record 53 tournaments in 26 destinations - including at least two events being played twice.

The Race to Dubai replaces the Order of Merit and ends with the Dubai World Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 19-22, 2009.

The top 60 in the Race to Dubai will qualify for the tournament, which has a prize fund of US$10m (€7.38m) and a first prize of US$1.6m (€1.18m).

A bonus pool of US$10m (€7.38m) will also be shared by the top 15 players in the Race to Dubai after the tournament, with the race winner taking away another US$2m (€1.47m).

To be eligible for the world's richest tournament, players must be members of the European Tour, and that now means playing in 12 rather than 11 tour events, two of which must be in Europe.

Harrington, overtaken in this year's Order of Merit by Robert Karlsson after the Swede's win the Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday, said: "I think the Race to Dubai will add a sparkle.

"I know many of the pros, including myself, are looking at our schedules to give ourselves the best chances of going out there and winning that.

"I have a very tight schedule on both sides of the world but I would like to give myself a good chance of winning that, especially in the first year."

A number of high-profile players, including Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh, have expressed an interest in taking up European Tour membership, but none have yet committed themselves to do so.

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