Race to Dubai leader Patrick Reed heading for DP World Tour Championship

Reed bidding to become first American to win European Tour and will be joined by the US PGA Championship winner

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 15: Patrick Reed of the United States plays his shot from the third tee during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on November 15, 2020 in Augusta, Georgia.   Patrick Smith/Getty Images/AFP

Current Race to Dubai leader Patrick Reed has confirmed his return to next month’s DP World Tour Championship, where he will compete alongside debutant, and recent US PGA Championship winner, Collin Morikawa.

Seeking to become the first American to secure the European Tour’s Order of Merit, Reed will tee it up at the season finale at Jumeirah Golf Estates (JGE) from December 10-13.

The 2018 Masters champion, 30, currently leads the Race to Dubai rankings by more than 450 points from 2017 winner Tommy Fleetwood, who has also added his name to the campaign-concluding event.

Morikawa, who will contest his first regular European Tour tournament as he makes his Middle East bow, helps complete the current top five in the standings, with 2009 champion Lee Westwood and Frenchman Victor Perez also in action.

"Winning the Race to Dubai and the European Tour's Order of Merit has always been a goal of mine," said Reed, runner-up two years ago, in a statement on Thursday. "I came close in 2018 and you can bet I will do my best to earn the No 1 spot.

“The DP World Tour Championship is an event I’ve been looking forward to since the rescheduled season was announced and it will be a great way to end 2020.”

A regular on the European Tour since taking up membership in 2015, Reed has enjoyed success in Dubai previously. In 2018, the Ryder Cup star finished second to Danny Willett on the Earth course, while he has two more top 10s in his four appearances at JGE.

This season, Reed won the WGC-Mexico Championship in February - his second World Golf Championship victory - and rose to the rankings summit in October when he came home third at the BMW PGA Championship. On Sunday, he finished tied-10th at the Masters to consolidate his lead at the top of the Race to Dubai.

“It would be an honour to become the first American to win the Race to Dubai," Reed said. "I’m really looking forward to the challenge of competing at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.”

Fleetwood, meanwhile, sealed the seasonal crown in 2017 and has not finished outside the top three since. Last week, he endured a frustrating weekend at the Masters to post a tied-19th finish.

“Winning the Race to Dubai was one of the proudest moments of my career so far and I’m looking forward to being back at Jumeirah Golf Estates in a few weeks’ time with the chance to become European No 1,” the two-time Abu Dhabi champion said.

FILE - Collin Morikawa holds the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, in this Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020, file photo. Morikawa was an example of another youth movement when he won his first major at age 23. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

“I’ve gone close the past two years in Dubai, finishing second and third in the rankings, and another Race to Dubai title would be very special to me. So I’m fully focused on the task ahead at the DP World Tour Championship.”

The fast-rising Morikawa, 23, is certain to add a fresh element next month as he attempts to round off a breakout season with another strong performance. The American triumphed at the US PGA Championship in August by two shots to become the third youngest winner of the event. He was playing in only his second major, and has three professional victories already. Morikawa sits third in the Race to Dubal.

“I’m excited to travel to Dubai and play there for the first time,” the world No 5 said. “I've had the opportunity to play outside the United States a few times, which I think is important to experience early in my career, and I'm looking forward to playing in a new environment in the Middle East.

“The opportunity to win the Race to Dubai is a thrill and it would be a great way to end an unforgettable year.”

The DP World Tour Championship follows on next month from the inaugural Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World, which will be played at its neighbouring Fire course. Attendance at both events will be for invited guests only.