Dubai Desert Classic Preview

Dubai Desert Classic Preview

12 January 2024

We take a closer look at the Dubai Desert Classic ahead of the players travelling to the Emirates Golf Club, UAE.

The Dubai Desert Classic marks the first elevated Rolex Series event on the DP World Tour of the New Year with more Race to Dubai points up for grabs, and even more enticing, a €9,000,000 prize fund!

Last year’s winner, Rory McIlroy, made an emphatic birdie on the 72nd hole. McIlroy played his tee shot to a few feet short of the water hazard, very nearly putting himself out of contention, before finding the short stuff. 

Then, in usual Rory fashion, when a playoff with Patrick Reed looked almost inevitable, he poured in a 14ft putt to win.  

Reed carded an impressive final-round 65 but fell just short with McIlroy finishing the tournament -18 under.

Rory McIlroy wins Dubai Desert Classic for the third time
Rory McIlroy wins Dubai Desert Classic for the third time

Last year, the three holes that caused the most issues were holes 6, 9, and 15 with number 9 playing the most over par at +0.27 over the course of the tournament – just what you need heading into the back nine!

Interestingly, last year’s first-round leader was soon-to-be global superstar Ludvig Aberg! Although Aberg was unable to maintain his first-round success, it contributed to his record-breaking year at the top of Professional golf.

That was last time, let us look to this year.

The Pros are once again heading to the Emirates Golf Club which over the years has given us some electric golf and finishes. 

In the field this year we have Ryder Cup Winning Captain Luke Donald as well as his team members Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrell Hatton, and Nicolai Hojgaard as well as Vice Captains Edoardo and Francesco Molinari

Although a close-knit bunch off the back of their success at Marco Simone, this week they will be going head-to-head once again. For a lot of the players, last week’s Dubai Invitational or this week’s Dubai Desert Classic will kick off their season.

McIlroy has won the Desert Classic three times which currently ties him with Ernie Els for the most wins since the tournament started, could he go back-to-back and take the top spot?

The course will be playing the same length as last year at 7428 yards or 6793 meters, off the back of the rollback 2023 announcement, could we have a course setup change in years to come? 

On a side note – Max Homa recently unleashed the longest drive of the PGA Tour Shotlink era at The Sentry, measuring an eye-watering 477 yards! 

Who will take home first place at the Emirates Golf Club?

Time will tell, it is hard to see past McIlroy, something about Rory and the Emirates GC just clicks, and when in the chasing pack, he can pull off miraculous shots like at The Genesis Scottish Open.

However, with Rahm moving to LIV the media seemed to turn more to McIlroy than Rahm? Will these added distractions in the build-up throw off Rory? Probably not.

Tommy Fleetwood is another player who tends to find himself in contention on Sunday but has had difficulty in the past closing out tournaments. 

Fleetwood had a great start at The 151st Open Championship but never seemed to press on whereas Brian Harman had the performance of a lifetime.

Who do you think will be holding the Desert Classic trophy on Sunday?

Preview the course with Shot Scope.

With the recent additions of both full course aerial maps and MyStrategy, you can see every hole on the course and even plot your way round. The Pros may be implementing a slightly different strategy!

The tournament commences on January 18th, just after the first-ever Dubai Invitational tournament at Dubai Creek Resort.


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