LONDON, England -- Dubai will stage the world's richest golf tournament as part of the European Tour's 2009 schedule.
Lofty ambition: The world's richest golf event was launched at the world's tallest hotel in Dubai.
The Dubai World Championship, to be held at Jumeirah Golf Estates on November 19-22 of that year, will have a prize pool of $10 million -- with $1,666,660 on offer for the winner.
The Tour's Order of Merit will be renamed The Race to Dubai with a prize pool also of $10 million, and is expected to start in January from 2010 instead of late November on the current calendar.
The top-ranked player will receive $2 million, the runner-up $1.5 million and the third-placed player $1 million, with prizes down to the 15th player, who will earn $250,000.
European Tour chief executive George O'Grady said: "This is so much more than a tournament sponsorship. It is a long-term partnership which will see the European Tour and Dubai joining together to significantly enhance the game worldwide and take golf to a new level for spectators everywhere."
The first five years of the Tour's new partnership with Leisurecorp, the company developing Dubai's leading residential golf community, will also see the building of a new international headquarters for the governing body and the creation of a global property company to develop new tournament venues around the world.
The inaugural event will run on either the Fire or Earth course, both of which were designed by former world No. 1 Greg Norman.
The Jumeirah complex also includes a Water course designed by Vijay Singh and a Wind course carrying the names of Norman, Sergio Garcia and American designer Pete Dye.
The agreement signed between Leisurecorp and the European Tour includes an option to extend for a further five years.
O'Grady added: "The scale of this agreement is testament to the vision of Dubai and its ruler His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who has recognized the dynamic role golf can play in developing the global profile of this amazing city.
"It is also testament to Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem (chairman of Leisurecorp's parent company Dubai World), who has been instrumental in turning that vision into reality.
"The Race to Dubai will bring a new dimension to the European Tour, creating great drama and theatre throughout the year as all the best players in the world are given the opportunity to compete in the world's richest tournament.
"Moreover, as the European Tour has become ever-more global in its outlook, it has become increasingly important to us to have an international base in a strategically-placed location.
"Dubai is a massively important and growing hub, with outstanding air links to all our locations, and the perfect place for us to offer a tailor-made service to all our members through the Center of Excellence at the European Tour International Headquarters."
As with the current season-ending Volvo Masters at Valderrama in Spain, the Dubai World Championship will be restricted to the leading 60 players on the European money list.
The money on offer exceeds what is currently on offer at the four major tournaments.
The British Open is the richest of those at the moment at $8.6 million, with the Masters, U.S. Open and U.S. PGA all just under $7 million this year.
The U.S. Tour's Players Championship is the richest single event, offering a purse of almost $9 million. E-mail to a friend