Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship to kickstart 'global' 2021 European Tour season

UAE to host three tournaments, including two Rolex Series events and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: Paul Radley and John McAuley: Lee Westwood celebrates winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championships. Sunday, January 19th, 2020. Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The 2021 European Tour calendar will commence and conclude in the UAE, with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, one of four Rolex Series, teeing off the season next month.

In addition to releasing the schedule for next year, the European Tour announced increased prize money levels across the 42 tournaments held in 24 countries, including minimum $8 million prize funds for the enhanced Rolex Series events.

The first of those will get the season underway when the UAE capital hosts the 16th edition of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on January 21-24. Last year's winner, Lee Westwood, on Sunday won the Race to Dubai – the European Tour's Order of Merit – for the third time in his career.

The European Tour will head down the road the following week – January 28-31 – for the 32nd edition of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and will stay in the region for the third Saudi International (February 4-7).

After heading over to Central America for the WGC-Mexico Championship – the first of four international tournaments that combine the world's major tours – the European Tour returns to the Gulf for the Oman Open on March 4-7.

Following events around the world, including the four majors and the rescheduled Ryder Cup (September 24-26), the Race to Dubai will once again finish at the DP World Tour Championship on November 18-21.

The total prize fund for the season-finale will increase by $1m to $9m and again features the largest winner’s cheque in golf of $3m.

Golf, like all professional sport, was severely disrupted in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the European Tour has confirmed that 18 tournaments that were either cancelled or postponed have returned to the schedule for next year.

“I am incredibly proud to announce our 2021 global schedule today, one that once again sees us journey through continents and across the world," European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said.


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“There is no question that the challenge of reshaping our 2020 season in many ways informed our approach to 2021. One of the key learnings was to group events together in terms of their geographical location to create a more travel friendly season for our members. That is reflected in numerous concentrations of event locations."

While the European Tour have announced a full schedule for 2021, the global pandemic persists and Pelley said all tournaments will adhere to the highest levels of health and safety.

“Our events in the initial part of the 2021 season will continue to operate under the guidelines of our world-class Health Strategy, which will evolve aligned to the latest medical advice," he said.

“However, with the incredible progress that has been made in recent months in terms of a vaccine, we look forward to hopefully welcoming the gradual return of the fans we’ve so dearly missed."