Sweden’s Robert Karlsson won the final European Tour event of the season, the Dubai World Championship, after getting the better of Ian Poulter in a sudden-death play-off. Karlsson holed a birdie putt on the 2nd extra hole to see off the Englishman, but the result could have been different had Poulter not suffered a cruel twist of fate.
As Germany’s Martin Kaymer secured the top spot on The Race to Dubai rankings and claim the European number one spot, Poulter and Karlsson finished together on 14-under par through 72 holes, after the Englishman’s birdie putt on the 18th green in regulation play shaved the hole. Had it dropped, Poulter would have claimed victory.
Replaying the 18th hole for the first time, both men shot to within four feet and holed their respective putts. Then, after both men had found the green in three at the second extra hole, Poulter dropped his ball on his marker from just a couple of inches; clipping the front-edge of the marker and causing it to flip over. Poulter called in the rules official, who applied a one-shot penalty on the Englishman.
“Any accidental movement of the ball marker which occurs before or after the specific act of marking, including as a result of dropping the ball … results in the player incurring a one-stroke penalty,” said chief referee Andy McFee.
It was a blow that would suck the heart from Poulter, seeking to win back-to-back tournaments for the first time in his career, and his putt for par was short of the hole – leaving Karlsson with two putts to win. He only needed one and lifted a winner’s cheque for $1.26 million.
Lee Westwood gave his title defence everything he had, but ultimately came up short after squandering a series of chances to get involved in the finish, but still managed to claim a share of third spot, alongside Spaniard Alvaro Quiros.
Rory McIlroy kept up his remarkable form figures in the Middle East with by claiming fifth spot.
In the tussle for The Race to Dubai, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer finished together on six-under par to share 13th place, alongside six other players. It was perhaps fitting that the pair should finish the tournament deadlocked on the same score, but it was US PGA champion Kaymer who took the top spot.
“It’s been a fantastic season for me. To win my first Major and to be part of the winning Ryder Cup team is way above my expectations to be honest. And obviously when you win a Major you know that you can win any tournament in the world.” Kaymer said afterwards as he was presented with his trophy.