This year’s OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic will once again showcase the best of the best as the likes of Shane Lowry, Henrik Stenson, Graeme McDowell and Ernie Els will join Collin Morikawa, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose at Emirates Golf Club.
Also confirmed to play are Padraig Harrington, Danny Willett and Martin Kaymer, taking the total number of Major winners in the field to 10.
Current Ryder Cup Captain Harrington is making his second consecutive appearance on the Majlis and will no doubt be casting an eye on some players in the reckoning to qualify for Team Europe later this year.
“Last year I played the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic for the first time in over 15 years and I quickly realised what I had been missing,” said the Dubliner. “It’s a great event on a quality golf course and I’m delighted to be returning again this year.
“As Ryder Cup Captain it’s important for me to keep an eye on the players who are in contention to make the team and I look forward to the test that the Emirates Golf Club will provide.”
One player hoping to impress Harrington is fellow Irishman Shane Lowry, who became the last European to win a Major in 2019 with a superb win at The Open at Royal Portrush.
Lowry is yet to don Team Europe colours, but a good result in Dubai would go a long way in putting an end to his wait.
“I love starting the year in the Middle East and this is a special event in a great city,” said Lowry, who has finished in the top 15 at the event the last two years. “I have played well over the last couple of years there and I’m hoping that can continue this month and kick start another successful season. The field is shaping up nicely and it’s all set up to be another great week.”
Past champions Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett return while three-time champion Ernie Els has seen the tournament – and the city – grow in leaps and bounds since he won his first European Tour title in Dubai back in 1994.
“I’m proud of my association with this event as a three-time winner,” said Els, who went on to win the 1994 US Open. “It broke new ground by bringing professional golf to the region and both the tournament and the city have grown so much since the early 1990s when I first came here.
“I’ve had some great weeks and a few heartbreakers, but that’s the nature of golf. I can’t wait to see what this year has to offer.”
Ryder Cup stars, including Tommy Fleetwood, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Paul Casey, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Matthew Fitzpatrick are also set to play, highlighting the importance of the tournament to the game’s biggest talents.