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UAE City Guide - Events In UAE - Annual Events In UAE - Dubai Desert Classic
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  • Events in UAE

    Dubai Desert Classic

    Event Schedule: During November

    The Omega Dubai Desert Classic was born in 1989 when the European Tour visited Asia for the first time. The roll of honour includes seven different Major Champions. They are: Seve Ballesteros (1992), Ernie Els (1994, 02, 05), Fred Couples (1995), José Maria Olazábal (1998), Mark O'Meara (2004) , Tiger Woods (2006, 08) and Rory McIlroy (2009). Between them they have won 30 Major Championships.

    Tiger Woods, who has featured in the $2.5 million event six times since 2001, is the only player after Els to record multiple victories in Dubai. Els has played 12 times in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic over Emirates Golf Club's Majlis course. In that time he has recorded three victories, nine top threes and never finished lower than eighth.

    Of his 46 rounds on the Majlis course he has a total of 169 under par. Els, who missed the cut for the first time in 2009, set the current course record of 61 (-11) on the opening day in 1994, which contained a European Tour record of 12 birdies in a single round. He has broken par in 41 of his 46 rounds. In 2009, he, for the first time, signed on an over par score of 73.

    Since making his first visit to Dubai in 2001, Woods has won the $2.5 million European Tour event twice and finishing no worse than a tied 20th. He is a whopping 86-under-par for the 24 rounds that he has played at the Majlis course --an average of 14.33 under par per tournament.

    Northern Ireland teenager Rory McIlroy, at 19 years and 273 days, became the youngest winner of the Dubai Desert Classic 2009, beating the previous best of England's David Howell, who had won the 1999 edition when he was 23 and 236 days old. The youngest player ever to win a European Tour event is Italy's Matteo Manassero who captured the Castello Masters Costa Azahar in October 2010 at 17 years and 188 days, smashing the record held by Danny Lee, who was 18 years and 213 days old when he won the 2008 Johnnie Walker Classic.

    Since 1989, the tournament has seen 19 winners from 12 different nations.

    To highlight the 20th anniversary of the tournament in 2009, the field contained 11 of the 16 past winners. In total there were four former Major Champions and no fewer than 91 winners of European Tour events competed in the tournament, promoted and organized by 'golf in DUBAi.

    Mark O'Meara is the oldest winner, a feat he achieved in 2004, aged 47 and 54 days.

    Golf legend Tom Watson made his first appearance in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in 2010. The five-time Open Champion, playing in his first regular European Tour event since the 1993 German Masters, finished tied eighth on six-under-par 282.

    In 2009, Matthew Turner created history, becoming the first amateur from the UAE to make the cut. The teenager posted rounds of 70-72-71-75 for a level-par score of 288 to finish tied 51st. If he were a professional, he stood to gain euro 8,152.71.

    In 2011, Spain's Alvaro Quiros, who was tied 65th after an opening round of 73, staged one of the biggest comebacks in the history of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, to win the tournament at 11 under. He was eight shots behind the leader after 36 holes.

    The 2011 edition also witnessed a hole-in-hole in every round. It was only the second time in the history of the European Tour that such a feat was recorded. The first occasion was the 1991 Mediterranean Open. David Howell of England, Keith Horne of South Africa, France's Raphael Jacquelin and 2011 champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain aced the seventh, fourth, seventh and 11th in that order.

    The 2012 winner Rafael Cabrera-Bello represented the first time a Spaniard has won the same European Tour event for three consecutive years since the Mallorca Classic, when Miguel Angel Jimenez won in 2003, Sergio Garcia in 2004 and Jose Maria Olazabal in 2005. With this win, Cabrera-Bello also became the fifth Spanish player to win the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, following Seve Ballesteroes (1992), Olazabal (1998), Jimenez (2010) and Alvaro Quiros (2011).

    Two holes-in-one were recorded during the 2012 edition of the event. Scotland's Stephen Gallacher aced the par-3, 15th in the first round. He was presented with a gleaming Mercedes-Benz S-Class car for his perfect tee shot. Incidentally, it was Gallacher's second hole in one on the Majlis course, having recorded the similar feat on the fourth hole in the 2005 edition of the $2.5 million European Tour event.

    Germany's Martin Kaymer also scored a hole-in-one (in the second round) on the par-3, seventh - and with it winning a special watch from title sponsors Omega.

    In 2013, Stephen Gallacher became the only the second Scot to win the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and first since Colin Montgomerie in 1996. His winning total of 266 (-22) matched the tournament record in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, set by Thomas Björn in 2001.

    England's Barry Lane is the only player to have played in all 23 editions of the event, having played in the inaugural one in March 1989, and he has set his sights firmly on reaching the milestone of 25 at a venue he describes as “five star in every respect”.


    Emirate:  Dubai


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