Keeping Score

European Tour opens with big-money event

With an $8 million purse and some of the game’s top stars, Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship kicks off 2021 season for tour

5: Number of top-20-ranked players who will be competing in the European Tour’s first event of 2021, the $8 million Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. American Justin Thomas, who is ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking, will join No. 6 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton (No. 9), Matthew Fitzpatrick (17) and Tommy Fleetwood (19) when play begins Thursday at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. This week will be one of only a few weeks this year when the European Tour’s prize fund will offer more money than what will be at stake on the PGA Tour. The Abu Dhabi event is one of four top-dollar Rolex Series events on the tour’s 2021 schedule. Fitzpatrick enters on the tail wind of having won the season-ending DP World Tour Championship. Lee Westwood, the tour’s Race to Dubai winner, also is entered (tee times).

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