This week the cream of the crop on the European Tour head to Dubai for the annual Dubai Desert Classic. Dubbed ‘the Major of the Middle East’ the tournament has been played on the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club since 1989, and year after year has grown in stature, with big name players competing for a pot of gold now amounting to a massive $2,650,000! Just who will win this year though? Let’s take a closer look at the event…
THE COURSE: MAJLIS COURSE AT THE EMIRATES GC
The Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club boasts an astonishing history in itself. Setting the benchmark for golf in Dubai, the course was the 1st 18 hole grass course in the UAE, a milestone that resulted in its nickname – “The Desert Miracle”. Ranked 2nd in the UAE, the course has been at the forefront of golf in Dubai and has since paved the way for golf in the middle east too. At 7,185 yards, the par 72 championship layout certainly presents a stern test and its dramatic layout overlooking Dubai’s skyscrapers is sure to inspire you to check out its neighbouring Faldo Course and the other fantastic courses in the UAE (Photo Guide Here!). Here’s what some of the pros have to say about it.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: RORY MCILROY
The Dubai Desert Classic is a tournament which defending champion Rory McIlroy will certainly have fond memories of, with the event being the site of the Northern Irishman’s first professional win in 2009 and kick-starting a career which, to this date, has produced an astonishing 18 more professional titles. It would certainly be fitting if McIlroy was able to reach the 20 mark in a city which he has previously referred to as his “second home”. And you’d be brave to bet against it too… Since 2009, McIlroy’s record in the desert has continued on an equally impressive vein with four runner up finishes to go along with his 4 wins in Dubai. Can anyone beat McIlroy this week?
PREVIOUS CHAMPIONS: AN ILLUSTRIOUS LIST
One thing that we do know for sure, is that whoever is crowned champion this week will enjoy their place amongst some of golf’s greatest names. The illustrious list includes the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Fred Couples, Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els and Tiger Woods… No pressure then…
IN THE FIELD: WHO TO WATCH IN DUBAI THIS WEEK
Current champion Rory McIlroy, hot from a 3rd place finish at the neighbouring Abu Dhabi Golf Championships two weeks ago, will be hoping to go two better and become only the 2nd player to win the tournament back to back following Stephen Gallachers success in 2013/2014. In his way stands some of the biggest stars in European Golf with the likes of Kaymer, Westwood, red hot Andy Sullivan (3 wins last year), rising star Matthew Fitzpatrick and the worlds best amateur Bryson DeChambeau all looking to win the trophy for the first time. However, perhaps McIlroy’s biggest threat comes in World No 6 Henrik Stenson, who’ll be looking to build on his success in 2007. Also eyeing up the trophy is Ernie Els, a man knows the competition no better, with a record of three wins in 1994, 2002 and 2005. With an illustrious list of competitors year after year, it is no wonder the Dubai Desert Classic continues to be one of the best events on the European Tour calendar!
FACTS & FIGURES: SNIPPETS FROM YEARS GONE BY…
Multiple Winners: Ernie Els (1994, 2002, 2005), Tiger Woods (2006, 2008), Stephen Gallacher (2013, 2014), Rory McIlroy (2009, 2015)
Lowest 18 Hole Score: 61 (-11): Ernie Els (1994)
Lowest 72 Hole Score: 266 (-22): Thomas Bjorn (2001), Steven Gallacher (2013)
Youngest Winner: Rory McIlroy: 19 years and 273 days (2009)
Oldest Winner: Mark O’Meara, 47 years and 54 days (2004)
2016 Prize Money: $2,650,000
WISH YOU WERE THERE?
I know what you’re thinking… I’d love to be in Dubai right now to see the world’s golfing elite in action… Well, maybe not this year… But with Your Golf Travels fantastic European Tour Packages you can be there in 2017! Watch the final two days of the tournament and enjoy 2 rounds of golf in the sun, all whilst staying at the luxurious JA Oceanview Suites Hotel for 5 Nights. Find out about our fantastic flight inclusive Dubai Desert Classic packages from £1649 here! See you in 2017!!!