With two Race to Dubai events remaining, the goal of being crowned European No 1 has turned into a shoot-out between neighbours.
The leading four golfers on the Race to Dubai — Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and the England duo of Justin Rose and Ian Poulter — are all residents of the Lake Nona gated community in suburban Orlando.
The four play practice rounds together while their respective families mix socially. But that neighbourly love will be forgotten over the next fortnight. Stenson continues to lead the Race to Dubai from McDowell, Rose and Poulter and with €1.542m separating the foursome.
However, anyone of the Lake Nona residents could end the year as No 1 given there is a first prize cheque of €851,000 up for grabs in this week’s inaugural Turkish Airlines Open and then €1m on offer as the top prize in next week’s season-closing DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
“It’s funny that the four really in contention for the Race to Dubai are all Lake Nona neighbours as we all practice and play at Lake Nona, so that’s what is really bizarre now about the Race to Dubai,” said Stenson.
“When I’m back home at Lake Nona I’m always bumping into Ian and Justin, and I’ve been up to G-Mac’s bistro a couple of times so it’s a close-knit community.”
McDowell is not playing in Turkey after finishing third in Shanghai last week to bridge the gap on Stenson to €145,866.
However, the Swede is looking to make the most of the former US Open winner’s absence and if he ends the year as top dog insisted he would gladly pick up the tab at McDowell’s Nona Blue Bistro located just a 9-iron from the front gates of the estate.
“I’ve had a G-Mac cheeseburger that’s on the menu,” said Stenson.
“I also like the chicken nuggets he has there as they’re really good.
“But I’ve now been there twice. Once I was a guest of the house and once I paid and if G-Mac wins the Race to Dubai then for sure, he will be paying. If I win, then I would be happy to pick up the tab.
“The good thing is that I won the PGA Tour Championship to win the FedEx Cup, so if I can do what I did in Atlanta then I would be very pleased.
“But with Ian playing this week in Turkey and also Justin and myself, but then not G-Mac, I see that whatever does happen in Turkey it will still come down to what happens next week in Dubai.”
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