The European Tour starts its two-tournament Dubai swing with the 13th edition of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the United Arab Emirates.
The tournament, contested at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, is one of three UAE events on the European Tour schedule, alongside next week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
The field of 128 players is headlined by top-ranked stars, including World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose (No. 6), Henrik Stenson (No. 9), and Rory McIlroy (No. 11), among others.
Tournament: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Dates: Jan. 18-21, 2018
TV Network: GOLF Channel
Course: Abu Dhabi Golf Club
Where: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Distance: 7,600 yards, Par 72
Architect: Peter Harradine
Field/Format: 126 players; 72-hole stroke; 36-hole cut
Winning Share: $500,000
Race to Dubai Points: 421,000
Defending Champion: Tommy Fleetwood
Then called the Abu Dhabi Championship, the tournament was first contested in January 2006 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, which has hosted the event since its inception.
The creation of the tournament was part of the European Tour’s effort to expand into Asia, and is part of a foursome of Tour events played in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, alongside the Dubai Desert Classic (founded in 1989), the Qatar Masters (founded in 1998), and the DP World Tour Championship (founded in 2009).
HSBC became the title sponsor in 2011, with EGA added as the presenting sponsor in 2018.
Despite its limited history, the champion’s list is impressive, headlined by three-time winner Martin Kaymer, and Paul Casey, a two-time winner. Tommy Fleetwood (2017) and Rickie Fowler (2016) were the two most recent winners.
TV & ONLINE COVERAGE
The defending champion at Abu Dhabi is Tommy Fleetwood, who rode a back-nine 31 to record his second European Tour title at the 2017 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
The Englishman entered the final day a shot behind overnight leader Tyrrell Hatton and turned at even-par 36. But a chip-in eagle led to a 5 under closing-nine en route to a 17 under total, edging Pablo Larrazabal and Dustin Johnson by one shot.
FINAL TOP 5
1 FLEETWOOD, Tommy -17
2 Pablo Larrazabal -16
3 Dustin Johnson -16
4 Bernd Wiseberger -15
4 Martin Kaymer -15
4 Kiradech Aphibarnrat -15
2017: Tommy Fleetwood
2016: Rickie Fowler
2015: Gary Stal
2014: Pablo Larrazábal
2013: Jamie Donaldson
2012: Robert Rock
2011: Martin Kaymer
Wins: 3 – Martin Kaymer (2008, 2010-11)
72-Hole Score: 264 (-24) – Martin Kaymer (2008)
The field this week in Abu Dhabi is headlined by three recent winners of the U.S. Open, including World No. 1 Dustin Johnson (2016), World No. 6 Justin Rose (2013), and World No. 11 Rory McIlroy (2011).
Other top-ranked players include nine Europeans who competed in last weekend’s EurAsia Cup: Henrik Stenson (No. 9), Paul Casey (No. 14), Tyrrell Hatton (No. 17), Tommy Fleetwood (No. 18), Rafael Cabrera Bello (No. 21), Matthew Fitzpatrick (No. 30), Ross Fisher (No. 31), Thomas Pieters (No. 41), and Bernd Wiesberger (No. 44).
Credits: Eiropean Tour Media, Getty Images