An impressive roster of talent
The tournament roll of honour includes seven different major champions – Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Fred Couples, Jose Maria Olazabal, Mark O’Meara, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Between them they have won 32 Major Championships.
Dubai Desert Aces
On his way to victory in 2011, Spain’s Alvaro Quiros made a hole-in-one at the 11th in the fourth round. He became only the third player in European Tour history to win a European Tour event and record an ace in the final round. The other two are Thongchai Jaidee (2004 Malaysian Open) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (2008 BMW PGA Championship).
The 2011 event witnessed four holes-in-one. All of them were in separate rounds. The only tournament on The European Tour that has seen more aces was the 1991 Fujitsu Mediterranean Open (six).
The Big Easy
Ernie Els has played the tournament 13 times, winning it on three occasions and recorded top-10 finishes in each of his
first 11 visits. He set the current course record of 11-under par 61 on the opening day in 1994. Unfortunately, he has missed the cuts in his last two starts.
Since 1989, the tournament has seen 21 different winners from 12 different nations. Stephen Gallacher became the first player last year to successfully defend his title.
World No1 Rory McIlroy is another player who enjoys the Majlis course. The 2009 winner has never finished outside the top-10 since his victory and 59-under par for his last 20 rounds in the event.
The Majlis Course will be used for the 24th time out of the 26 Omega Dubai Desert Classics, including this year. In 1999 and 2000, it was hosted by the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club.
Martin Kaymer urged the fans not to look at his shocking collapse in the final round of Abu Dhabi as a negative. The German insists he has come out richer in experience and learnt a lot from that nightmare. Whether he will be able to apply those learnings as early as this week remains to be seen.
Lee Westwood loves the Emirates Golf Club and has come close to winning here several times in the past. This year, he is starting the season here, and it will be interesting to see if he carries his form from 2014, when he closed the season with a win in the Thai Golf Championship.