Dubai Desert Classic Preview


The European Tour’s “Desert Swing” moves onto Dubai this week for the Dubai Desert Classic from January 25-28 at Emirates Golf Club.

Sergio Garcia is the defending champion having won the 2017 Dubai Desert Classic by three shots from Henrik Stenson.

Dubai Desert Classic History

The $3 million Dubai Desert Classic has been staged on the European Tour since 1989 when Mark James won the inaugural tournament at the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.

The Emirates Golf Club took over as host in 1992, the year in which Seve Ballesteros triumphed, and it has been staged on the Mijlas course even since.

Ballesteros is one of a number of leading names to have won the prestigious early-season event with Ernie Els a three-time winner, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy two-time victors and Fred Couples, Colin Montgomerie, Jose-Maria Olazabal, Thomas Bjorn, Mark O’Meara, Henrik Stenson, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sergio Garcia among the past champions.

Bjorn, McIlroy and another two-time winner Stephen Gallagher hold the tournament low score record of 22-under par.

Dubai Desert Classic Course

All but two of the Dubai Desert Classics staged since 1989 have been played at the Mijlas course at Emirates Golf Club. The course is a par-72 test measuring 7,319 yards.

Dubai Desert Classic Contenders

Having started the year with a third place finish in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship last week, Rory McIlroy is the favourite to win the Dubai Desert Classic for a third time in his career having triumphed in 2009 and 2015.

Sergio Garcia will be bidding to successfully defend the title he won last year, while former winners Henrik Stenson – who was also runner-up last year – and Rafael Cabrera-Bello are among those featuring prominently in bookmakers markets to win this week.

Tommy Fleetwood is chasing back-to-back wins after winning in Abu Dhabi last week as he bids to continue his rapid start to the season. Chris Paisley has also enjoyed early year success and could feature at the pointy end of things again.

Fleetwood’s fellow Englishmen Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton and Ross Fisher head to Dubai expecting big weekends, as do South Africans Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen.