2021 World Tour Championship: Live stream, Race to Dubai TV schedule, tee times for European Tour finale

The best golf tournament this week will not be taking place under the PGA Tour banner but rather several thousand miles away in Dubai. The European Tour’s season culminates over the next few days with the DP World Tour Championship.

This year’s field includes Rory McIlroy, Tyrrell Hatton, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia, Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood, Will Zalatoris, Paul Casey, Matt Fitzpatrick and the two leaders of the Race to Dubai — Billy Horschel and Collin Morikawa. This week’s event is tantamount to the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup as a season-long race winds down and will reward the very top players in the standings at the end of the week.

There’s a lot to discuss about this tournament, including two unlikely leaders at the top, one of whom is almost certainly going to take home the title of Race to Dubai winner at the end of the week and make a little history in the process.

The golf will be on in the middle of the night into the early morning hours here in the United States, but waking up to those Rory 63s is always a joy. Here’s how you can follow Morikawa’s bid to be the first American winner of the Race to Dubai as well as the rest of the action at the last event of the European Tour Season, followed by some storylines surrounding the event. 

All times Eastern; streaming start times approximated

How to watch DP World Tour Championship

Round 3 – Saturday

Round starts: 11:15 p.m. (Friday)

Live TV coverage: 2-7 a.m. on Golf Channel
Live stream online: 2-7 a.m. on fuboTV (Try for free) and GolfChannel.com

Round 4 – Sunday

Round starts: 11:15 p.m. (Saturday)

Live TV coverage: 1:30-7:30 a.m. on Golf Channel
Live stream online: 1:30-7:30 a.m. on fuboTV (Try for free) and GolfChannel.com

DP World Tour Championship storylines

1. No. 1 absence

Jon Rahm, the current No. 1 player in the world, decided to skip this week despite ranking third in the Race to Dubai behind Morikawa and Horschel and winning two of the last four DP World Tour Championships.

“After lengthy discussions with my team, I have come to the difficult decision not to travel to Dubai next week,” Rahm said in a statement. “The demands of a long season with many ups and downs has taken a lot out of me. I feel I need to take time to recharge my batteries while spending quality time with my family.”

Rahm went over to Spain to play in multiple events directly after the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits and seemed completely cooked by the end of his year.

“I fully understand,” said Rory McIlroy this week. “He just won his first major this year, he’s had his first child, he won this thing … the year before. I fully understand; I don’t think anyone can criticize him for not being here. He’s given his all all year. He’s had his trials and tribulations as well. He was an absolute star at the Ryder Cup for us. He couldn’t have given more, and he’s given a lot to the European Tour already. He goes to Spain and plays those events there in his home country. I don’t think anyone can criticize him for not being here this week.”

Rahm’s absence benefits Morikawa and Horschel — which we’ll get to in a minute — but it also opens the door for the players behind him like Hatton, Fitzpatrick and Min Woo Lee to perhaps leap the two Americans at the top by the end of this event.

2. Winning the week more lucrative

Though the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup has now merged with its season-ending Tour Championship, and the prize money is no longer separate, there’s still separation on the European Tour. Although there is a bonus pool of money handed out to the winner of the season-long Race to Dubai (normally it’s $5 million with the winner getting $2 million, but last year it was heavily reduced), winning the actual DP World Tour Championship this week where the purse is $9 million and the winner gets $3 million is a better financial outcome.

Rick Gehman is joined by Kyle Porter and Greg DuCharme to preview the 2021 RSM Classic and 2021 DP World Tour Championship. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

3. Wait, Morikawa and Horschel? 

Technically, only six golfers — Morikawa, Horschel, Hatton, Lee, Fitzpatrick and Paul Casey — have a chance to win the Race to Dubai, and it’s going to be difficult for Morikawa and Horschel to miss out completely. The math is a little complicated, but essentially, if Morikawa plays decent at all, he’s almost certainly going to win the Race to Dubai unless Horschel wins the tournament.

How did we get here? Well, Morikawa won the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession as well as the Open Championship, both of which count as European Tour victories. Horschel took the BMW Championship, which is akin to the PGA Tour’s Players Championship. Either would be the first American to win the Race to Dubai, which began all the way back in 1972.

4. Diverse list

Speaking of folks who have won the Race to Dubai, it’s been a different golfer in each of the last six years after multiple eras of uniformity. The list is monstrous. Seve Ballesteros, Greg Norman, Collin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Ian Woosnam and Padraig Harrington are all former champions along with Rahm, McIlroy and Henrik Stenson. Last year’s winner, Lee Westwood, also won it back in 2000, which came between Race to Dubai titles by Montgomerie and Retief Goosen. Westwood going 20 years between Race to Dubai wins was one of the more improbable feats in a year full of them.

5. Where’s Rory? 

The biggest draw in the field is currently 20th and cannot win the Race to Dubai, although he can win the DP World Tour Championship for the third time in his career. McIlroy won it in 2012 and 2014, and came in second back in 2014 when Stenson went on to win.

“I wasn’t always planning to be here and play,” said McIlroy on Tuesday. “After the Ryder Cup, I didn’t really know what I was going to do. But I decided to play a bit more and try to push through some of the things I was working on in my game. As I said, I came through the other side of that. So it’s important to be here. I missed it last year because of COVID. I just didn’t want to deal with the travel and the bubble and that sort of stuff.

“But this year is a little different and a little more normal, I guess. So it’s good to be here. It’s a place I’ve had success on. It’s a course that suits my game really well. I’ll have a good chance this week. I don’t feel like I need to do anything too special to give myself a chance on Sunday.”