Lowdown on the Dubai Desert Classic that tees off Thursday.
The Omega Dubai Desert Classic takes place at Emirates Golf Club this week, showcasing some of the biggest names in golf. Here is everything you need to know.
What is it?
Now in its 28th staging, the event was for a long time referred to as the “Major of the Middle East”. The final stop on the European Tour’s Desert Swing, it follows on from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the Qatar Masters. This week’s prize fund stands at US$2.65 million (Dh9.7m). Tournament days are Thursday to Sunday.
Who is playing?
Even without two-time champion and world No 2 Rory McIlroy – a late withdrawal – the event still packs some serious star power. Tiger Woods is the obvious big draw, given the 14-time major champion’s standing in the game. The American will tee it up alongside Henrik Stenson, the highest-ranked player in the field at world No 4. Defending champion Danny Willett, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell all feature. Dubai-based amateur Rayhan Thomas also takes part.
Willett, the reigning Masters champion, is attempting to become only the second player to retain the Coffee Pot trophy after Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher triumphed in 2014. Ernie Els is the event’s only three-time winner – 1994, 2002 and 2005. Gallacher, McIlroy and Woods have all lifted the title twice. McIlroy’s 2009 victory was his first win on the European Tour. Overall, the roll of honour contains some heavy hitters, including Stenson, Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie, Fred Couples and Jose Maria Olazabal.
Daily tickets for the four days of competition are priced at Dh175. A season pass, which provides access all week, including tomorrow’s Pro-Am day, is available for Dh675. Single tickets for the Pro-Am cost Dh75. Those aged 18 and under will be allowed free entry to the course if they are accompanied by an adult who is holding a valid ticket for the day. For more information visit www. dubaidesertclassic.com.
Danny Willett will be targeting a second Dubai Desert Classic starting Thursday.