Rafa Cabrera Bello: There’s no place like home (Dubai)

Dubai is the perfect place to end the European Tour season and after my friend Jon Rahm’s DP World Tour Championship victory last year I’d love to make it a Spanish double at Jumeirah Golf Estates this month!

I‘m looking forward to getting back home to Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship this month. It’s a special event for all us European Tour players but extra special for me as I live in the emirate and have shared a special bond with the golf fans in Dubai ever since I won the Dubai Desert Classic in 2012.

I tend to do well at Jumeirah Golf Estates and have been close to winning the tournament in the past so I hope I can be in contention again this year.  I enjoy the event and the organisation; Nick Tarratt from the European Tour and his team and the partners DP World – I know them all very well and consider them friends so it’s always nice to come home to play in what is such a quality event for the country.

The DP World Tour Championship and Race to Dubai have raised Dubai’s profile on the world stage and enhanced the UAE’s reputation as a golfing destination significantly. They’ve really put the emirate on the map and promoted it throughout the world.

Being at home and playing a tournament in a city I’m so familiar with is great. You may think that it makes the week more relaxing but it’s actually the opposite. When the events comes around, I have so many friends and family members visiting me that it is not a quiet week for me! It’s a very busy week but at the end of the day they are the people I love and I enjoy being with them all so it’s really nice.

Winning the DP World Tour Championship would be very special for me. There have been a lot of Spanish winners of the Desert Classic and I followed that tradition behind Alvaro Quiros just a year after his victory. I would like to do the same with the DP World Tour Championship and follow up Jon Rahm’s victory by taking the title this year. I know Jon well, he’s a great young player and a friend, so it would be an honour to win that championship at one point in my career.

Although I was obviously disappointed not to make the team, I was really pleased to see Europe win The Ryder Cup. I know the players very well so I was delighted for the team and captain Bjørn in securing such a great win.

Sergio Garcia breaking the all-time European points record was fantastic. We’ve been friends on Tour for many years and played at the Olympics together in Rio as a team so we’re very close. He’s struggled a bit this year with his form but of course he is a great champion which he showed by playing so well at The Ryder Cup.

It’s been a decent season on both the European and PGA Tour and my best result was in the WGC event in Mexico which counted on both tours. I’m savouring the experience of competing on both sides of the Atlantic and getting more accustomed to the courses in America every year. Despite it being a long, tough season, I’ve already started my 2019 PGA Tour schedule in Asia and had some decent results with a tied third place finish at the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in South Korea and a tied 14th at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai. It gets me off to a good start before the short winter break and takes a little of the pressure off.

Jebel Ali Golf Club has made some recent changes to the first three holes and I’ll definitely get a round in there while I’m back in Dubai. My coach, David Leadbetter, is also coming to open the academy on the Monday of the DP World Tour Championship week (November 12) – his first one in the Middle East which is very exciting. I will be with David at the opening so I hope to get a chance to play the course then too and looking forward to seeing the new design.