Read our preview of this week's Dubai Desert Classic where Sergio Garcia defends against a strong field at Emirates GC
Dubai Desert Classic Leaderboard
The European Tour remains in the Middle East this week and a strong field has been assembled at the Emirates GC for the Dubai Desert Classic.
Last year, Sergio Garcia won his 12th European Tour title by fending off Henrik Stenson. He then went on to win at Augusta, just like the previous year’s champion Danny Willett.
Garcia won the Singapore Open last week in his first tournament using new equipment, it will be interesting to see if he can successfully defend.
This year there’s a stellar cast of names competing including Rory McIlroy, Garcia, Stenson, last week’s winner Tommy Fleetwood and a number of European Ryder Cup hopefuls like Matt Fitzpatrick, Thomas Pieters, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ross Fisher and Tyrrell Hatton.
The history of this event goes back to 1986 when His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum approved the construction of a golf course in the desert.
The Emirates Club opened two years later and the next season Mark James was winner of the inaugural Karl Litten Desert Classic (the competition was originally named after the designer of the course.)
The Dubai Desert Classic is the longest-running European Tour tournament in the UAE, contested every year since 1989 barring 1991.
Previous champions of this event include Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Tiger Woods, Fred Couples, Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy.
Ernie Els has won this tournament three times and holds the course record of 61. Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Stephen Gallacher have all won here twice.
The Majlis Course at the Emirates Club was the first all-grass layout in the Gulf and it’s still recognised as one of the finest tracks in the Middle East.
Travelling through the desert dunes, fairways pass seven lakes, desert areas, indigenous flora and the “Majlis” themselves. Arabic for meeting place, these tent-like structures are a distinctive feature sitting between the 8th and 9th holes.
The tournament is a week earlier than usual this year, so that means there is no Tiger Woods who tees it up on the PGA Tour in the Farmers Insurance Open.
The Spaniard closed with a bogey-free 69 to…
From St Andrews to Wentworth to Abu Dhabi...
Venue: Emirates GC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date: Jan 25-28
Course stats: par 72, 7,319 yards
Defending Champion: Sergio Garcia (-19)
Thursday 25 – Sky Sports Golf from 4am
Friday 26 – Sky Sports Golf from 7.30am
Saturday 27 – Sky Sports Golf from 8.30am
Sunday 28 – Sky Sports Golf from 8am
Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the Dubai Desert Classic?
Why not buy a Now TV pass? For £6.99 you can get a day pass, if you just wish to watch one of the rounds, or for just £10.99 you can get a week pass to see the whole tournament.
Keep in touch with Golf Monthly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram