We never thought we would say this but is there now too much professional golf being played? Great play last week was made of the build up to the final event of the European season, the Race To Dubai. Billed as a match between Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood for the title of European number one for the year it overshadowed everything else that happened in the tournament itself. The fact that Jon Rahm played magnificently to win the tournament was almost ignored as the media concentrated on who was going to finish the season as number one.
From a golfing point of view it would have been far more interesting to concentrate more on Rahm as the showdown between Rose and Fleetwood was a virtual none event as each of them tried to throw it away. Rose taking 40 on the back nine and Fleetwood finishing with a 74 that left Fleetwood finishing the season as the winner of the Order of Merit.
So much was made of this event that you would have thought that the golfing season was over till the New Year. Not so however as the European Tour has now started the 2018 season by staging the Hong Kong Open this week and then goes to Australia and South Africa before a short break for Christmas. In many people’s minds that has totally devalued the whole Race to Dubai concept as being the season ending finale and made it just another tournament which clearly couldn’t have been the point when it was first mooted. Surely a short break would have enhanced the Dubai tournaments prestige and that would have been a natural end to the 2017 golfing season.
You would also have thought that Fleetwood would have taken a break to enjoy his new found status as European number one but no, he is here again playing and that has been part of his success in that he has played far more tournaments over the year than many of his rivals and picked up qualifying points virtually every week. Fair play to him for having the consistency and stamina to do that but is he really Europe’s number one player? His achievements on the course in this competition say he is but if you look down the list of previous winners of the Order of Merit his record so far is a long way behind their’s and he is currently ranked behind several other European and Scandinavian players in the world rankings.
Congratulations to Tommy Fleetwood though and it will be interesting to see how he plans his schedule for the 2018 season. Does he still play virtually every week or does he concentrate on fewer but better quality events testing himself against the worlds best players rather more often than he has done this year?