European Tour confirm new four-year Race to Dubai deal
The European PGA Tour on Sunday unveiled its schedule for the coming year, confirming that The Race to Dubai system has been extended for another four years.
The Race to Dubai, the 2013 edition of which culminated in the Gulf emirate on Sunday as Henrik Stenson stormed to victory, replaced the European Order of Merit in 2009, with four former world number ones - Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy - taking top honours since then.
The next edition, which will once again conclude with the season-ending finale at Dubai's Jumeirah Golf Estates, will get underway before the end of the year, next week at the South African Open Championship in Johannesburg.
The complete year-long schedule will feature a minimum of 48 tournaments spread over 26 different destinations and five continents.
European Tour officials, meanwhile, said that they believed the new schedule showed that the tour had weathered the global financial crisis of the last few years.
Rumours earlier this year that the USPGA Tour had made a bid to buy the European Tour were swiftly denied and Keith Waters, chief operating officer and director of international policy, said on Sunday: "I am delighted with our 2014 schedule which perfectly showcases not only the renewed strength in depth of the European Tour, but also our influential global footprint.
"There is no question that we have come through a challenging period economically and for that we must thank the continued commitment and dedication of our tournament promoters and sponsors, not only in our home continent of Europe, but throughout the world."
The 2014 schedule features two new tournaments in a row in August - in Denmark and the Czech Republic - while the Italian Open in Turin from August 28-31 is the last qualifying event for the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles in September.
The Volvo World Match Play Championship has moved back to its traditional autumn slot after three years in Spain and this year's event in Bulgaria, with a venue - strongly rumoured to be in the south east of England - yet to be announced.