New look European Tour

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The European Tour in golf has unveiled a 53–event schedule for 2009, culminating in the £11.3m Dubai World Championship at Jumeirah next November.

The 'Road to Dubai' sees events in 26 venues, starting this November with the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai. Five tournaments have been added to the 2009 schedule but the New Zealand and Asian Opens and Volvo Masters do not feature. The events will be spread out over a 13–month period starting at the end of 2008, with the HSBC Champions event and the UBS Hong Kong Open being staged twice at either end of the Tour. The schedule will see Leisurecorp, the Dubai World company specialising in developments and investments in the sport and leisure sector and with whom The European Tour have a wide–ranging partnership, host the start and finish of The 2010 European Tour International Schedule. The shake–up of the Tour has come about as an attempt to redress the balance of the world's biggest names playing on the more lucrative US PGA Tour. However the European Tour has upped the minimum number of events a player must play to be a member to 12, and some players have expressed doubts as to whether big–name US players would be willing to travel that much. George O'Grady, chief executive of The European Tour, said: "We are excited about the start of The Race to Dubai and the superb quality of the field for the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, with five of the top seven currently active players in the world all entered, provides ample evidence of the high drama and great theatre that lies ahead. The Race to Dubai will bring a new dimension to The European Tour and the partnership with Leisurecorp is central to our plans for the future so we are particularly delighted that three of their prestigious golf facilities are hosting competition in 2009, and that Pearl Valley Golf Estates and Jumeirah Golf Estates will start and finish the 2010 season. "The Czech Golf Open at Prosper Golf Resort, Čeladná, from 30 July to 2 August is the first of the five 'new' tournaments to be played on the 2009 European Tour International Schedule. The others are the English Open, returning after an absence of seven years, at St Mellion International Resort, Cornwall; the inaugural Canal + Open; the Volvo World Match Play Championship at the new venue of Finca Cortesin Golf Club in Malaga, Spain; and The Dubai World Championship which concludes The Race to Dubai from 19–22 November, 2009.

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