Following a week in Abu Dhabi, the European Tour travels just an hour north for the 35th edition of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.
Debuting in 1989, the Dubai Desert Classic was the first major tour event staged in the Middle East.
The 132-player field is headlined by world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who seeks a record-tying third Dubai title.
Other marquee names in the UAE this week include LIV stars such as Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed, Abraham Ancer and Ian Poulter.
Tournament: Hero Dubai Desert Classic
Dates: Jan. 26-29, 2023
European Tour Debut: 1989
European Tour Week: 6th (of 39)
TV Network: GOLF Channel
Golf Club: Emirates Golf Club
Course: Majlis Course
Locale: Dubai, UAE
Distance: 7424 yards, Par 72
Architect: Karl Litten, 1988
Field 132 players
Format: 36-hole cut, 72-hole stroke
Win Share: $1,530,000
OWGR Points: 29.6
2022 Champion: Viktor Hovland
How to Follow the Hero Dubai Desert Classic
TELEVISION: Thu-Fri: 2:30-8 a.m. ET (GOLF); Sat-Sun: 2-8 a.m. (GOLF)
CONTENT FEED: EuropeanTour.com
Hero Dubai Desert Classic History
The Hero Dubai Desert Classic, originally titled the ‘Karl Litten Desert Classic,’ has been a part of the European Tour’s schedule since 1989.
Englishman Mark James was the inaugural winner, edging Aussie Peter O’Malley in a playoff.
Emirates Airlines took the role of title sponsor the following year (1990) which saw Irishman Eamonn Darcy score a four-shot victory over Northern Ireland’s David Feherty.
After a year off in 1991 due to the Gulf War, the Dubai Desert Classic returned in 1992 with the legendary Seve Ballesteros taking home the title in a playoff over Northern Irishman Ronan Rafferty.
With the exception of the 1999 and 2000 editions held at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, the “Desert Classic” has been played on the Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club.
In 2010, Omega became the first title sponsor in 20 years. The watchmaker’s name stayed in the title for 12 straight editions, ending in 2021.
In 2022, the event became part of the Rolex Series, offering an increased prize fund of $8,000,000 (USD), while Slync.io, a logistics tech company, was announced as the title sponsor.
The 2023 edition saw the purse increased to $9 million and Hero Motors signing on as the title sponsor.
Alongside Ballesteros, other notable winners include Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, Colin Montgomerie, Fred Couples, Mark O’Meara, and Jose Maria Olazabal.
Els has won the tournament three times, while Woods, McIlroy and Stephen Gallacher are two-time winners.
The tournament’s claim to fame is that it was the first live event broadcast on Golf Channel (1995).
History: Recent Winners
2022: Viktor Hovland (-12)
2021: Paul Casey (-17)
2020: Lucas Herbert (-9)
2019: Bryson DeChambeau (-24)
2018: Li Haotong (-23)
2017: Sergio Garcia (-19)
2016: Danny Willett (-19)
2015: Rory McIlroy (-22)
Wins: 3 – Ernie Els (2005, 2002, 1994)
72-hole Score: 264 (-24) – Bryson DeChambeau (2019)
18-Hole Score: 61 – Ernie Els (1994)
Hero Dubai Desert Classic Field
The field this week in Dubai is headlined by world No. 1 Rory McIlroy who is seeking to tie Ernie Els with three Dubai Desert Classic titles.
The angry Northern Irishman will be joined by a slew of big-time names, including Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Patrick Reed, Abraham Ancer and Tommy Fleetwood, among others.
Other marquee names include Thomas Pieters, Tyrrell Hatton, Shane Lowry, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Francesco Molinari and last week’s winner Victor Perez.
Top-5 Betting Favorites
Book Rank-Player (Odds)
1. Rory McIlroy (3-1)
2. Tyrrell Hatton (12-1)
3. Min Woo Lee (14-1)
4. Tommy Fleetwood (16-1)
5. Shane Lowry (22-1)
Full Field & Odds
Hero Dubai Desert Classic | Emirates GC | Dubai, UAE | Jan 26-29, 2023
Credits: European Tour Media, Getty Images