Last year’s Race to Dubai winner and runner-up, Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick, have announced they’ll be teeing it up at this year’s OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic where they will be joined by compatriots Ian Poulter and Paul Casey.
Also playing are former champion Rafa Cabrera Bello and multiple European Tour winners Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Matt Wallace, who were the runners-up at the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic in 2020 and 2019, respectively.
Casey, who has never missed the cut at Emirates Golf Club, returns to the event for the first time since 2014 while Poulter has played in the last four editions, posting two top tens, and is making his 11th career start in the event having first played back in 2001.
Westwood has had three runner-up finishes in his career at the event while Fitzpatrick is an ever-present dating back to his rookie season of 2015.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic and if you look at my results here historically, you could say the course suits me,” said Westwood, who has 25 wins to his name on the European Tour.
“I first played this event in 1994 and the changes and growth of Dubai since then has been quite staggering.” – Lee Westwood
“There are a lot of good holes – the 8th is spectacular, teeing off towards the skyscrapers, and the 18th especially is a great finishing hole. This is a title I’d love to win having come close in the past.”
Fitzpatrick is returning to Dubai one month after sealing his sixth European Tour title at the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates and he’s looking forward to playing the Majlis once again.
“This is one of the iconic venues on the European Tour and it’s an event I look forward to every year when I begin my season in the Middle East,” said Fitzpatrick.
“I have enjoyed my off-season having celebrated the win last month and I’m excited to get going again ahead of what should be a very busy year with The Ryder Cup on the horizon in September.”
Spain’s Cabrera Bello won the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic in 2012 while both Bezuidenhuit and Wallace came close to joining the 36-year-old as a past champion over the last two years but came up short in their quests.
Bezuidenhout missed out in a play-off to Lucas Herbert last year but went on to have a superb season, clinching back-to-back titles on home soil to end the best campaign of his career in seventh place in the Race to Dubai.
“Last year’s play-off defeat was tough but I’m proud with how I played because I learned from it,” said Bezuidenhout.
“This is a big event and with that comes playing under a lot of pressure.
“I had a great end to the year and I’m looking forward to continuing that form into 2021.”
For Wallace, his runner-up finish behind Bryson DeChambeau in 2019 was one of three he’s had in Dubai since his last Tour title in 2018 at the Made In Denmark.
Wallace also finish second at last month’s Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World and the 2018 DP World Tour Championship, and clearly enjoys competing in the city.
“There is something really special about playing in Dubai and it really would mean a lot to win the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic,” said Wallace. “This will be my fourth appearance in the event and it’s one I look forward to when I sit down to plan my schedule.
“The list of past winners speaks for itself and there is always a strong field so it should be a great week.”
With the likes of Collin Morikawa, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia and Tyrrell Hatton already confirmed, this year’s OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic is set to host one of its strongest fields yet.