Race to Dubai: Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia in three-way fight

By Iain CarterBBC golf correspondent
Sergio Garcia plays a tee shot on the 18th hole during the Pro-Am prior to the DP World Tour Championship
Garcia is third in the Race to Dubai with 3,184,582 points

Sergio Garcia insists he is not out to spoil English celebrations as the European Tour reaches its climax in the Middle East this week.

The Masters champion is the only golfer who can prevent the Tour's prestigious Race to Dubai crown falling into English hands as Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose duel for top spot in the order of merit.

But Garcia seems more preoccupied with bedding in new equipment as he switches manufacturer at the end of a season in which he won his first major title.

April's play-off victory over Rose at Augusta ended the Spaniard's long barren streak in the game's biggest tournaments. He also won February's Dubai Desert Classic, and the Valderrama Masters last month.

All of which leaves the Ryder Cup stalwart third in the Race to Dubai heading into this week's finale at the DP World Tour Championship.

A fourth victory, combined with Race leader Tommy Fleetwood finishing outside the top 20 and Rose failing to secure a top-four finish, would give Garcia his first money list title.

But the 37-year-old does not believe he is on a mission to ruin an all-English party.

"No, not at all," he told BBC Sport. "We are going out to play hard and whoever deserves to win will win. It is as simple as that.

"I think it's been a great year for all three of us and what happens this week shouldn't take away from anything that any of us have done."

Garcia would be the first Spaniard since Seve Ballesteros in 1991 to win the Harry Vardon Trophy, and says it would be a wonderful way to end the best year of his career.

"Definitely," he said. "But if it doesn't happen, it's fine. It's still been an amazing year. So many great things happened.

"It's not something that would be do or die, and hopefully we still have a few more years where I can achieve it if I can't do it.

"The only thing I can do is go out there and play the best I can and try to win. I can't really control what Justin or Tommy are going to do."

Garcia is justified in tempering expectations given the Jumeirah Golf Estates course is not one of his favourites, with a best finish there of tied seventh in 2009.

Then there is the equipment issue, which may also compromise his performance this week.

Garcia will be experimenting with Callaway clubs and ball after the end of his 15-year agreement with Taylormade.

Despite his upbeat sentiment it is a tricky adjustment - particularly with regard to distance control - before such a big event.

"I'm really excited about it," he said. "I'm excited not only for myself but for them and now there are three good weeks to test it and see how I feel."

English golf players Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood
Justin Rose (left) and Tommy Fleetwood are battling it out to be Europe's number one

Fleetwood, who intriguingly eschewed the chance to switch manufacturers when Nike left the market last year, holds a 256,737-point lead over Rose in the Race to Dubai.

The 26-year-old has dominated the standings thanks to January's victory in Abu Dhabi, a second-placed finish at the WGC in Mexico, a strong challenge at the US Open and another win at the French Open.

Rose put himself in the picture with his recent wins in Shanghai and Turkey. He needs a top-five finish this week to have any chance of adding to the order of merit he won in 2007.

Whoever wins, this has been another remarkable year for British golf on the European Tour, with nine English wins in 47 events so far.

Tyrrell Hatton accounted for two of those with his back-to-back triumphs at the Alfred Dunhill Links and Italian Open.

And he hopes Fleetwood takes the Race to Dubai crown.

"Hopefully he does well this week and can lift the trophy," the 26-year-old told BBC Sport.

"It would be nice to see someone new winning and he's a young English lad as well so it would be great.

"It's always good to see guys you are a similar age to, and from England too, doing well. You know them from junior golf and you've grown up with them."

Another member of this generation is this week's defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick, 23, who won September's European Masters in Switzerland.

"We are all playing against each other," the Sheffield youngster said. "I don't think it's easy because you know everyone, you know how they are as people and players and you're always watching out for how they're doing.

"That's just the way it is and you obviously always want to be on top but it's not always the case.

"The more of these young guys coming through, the better they seem to be."

And if Fleetwood was to close out the Race this week, Fitzpatrick admits it would provide another spur of motivation.

"Definitely," he said. "I've played with Tommy a couple of times now and seen his game and he's obviously been playing fantastically this year.

"But it is something I'd obviously like to achieve myself, winning the Race to Dubai, and for him to do it this year would be fantastic with such great names competing against him.

"It is very, very impressive."


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