HDDC23 Daily News Round 4

Page 1

The sun came out and so did the stars on Saturday as the Hero Dubai Desert Classic moved into business mode.

With the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club drying out at last, there was little separating a whole host of contenders chasing the crown at the 34th edition of the historic Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

Thomas Pieters again made a case for a second Rolex Series title in a little over a year after the 2022 Abu Dhabi HSBC Champion blitzed the back nine in 30 on Saturday on his way to his second 67 and a share of the lead with Richard Bland and Michael Thorbjornsen on 10-under.

Strangely, Pieters was still unhappy with his game, as he conceded: “I was not in a good head space early today. Then I shoot that on the back nine. I don’t know how, but my putting seemed to work. I still have some tough work to do on the range as my driving is pretty poor. We’ll have to fix that. But all the rest is in good shape.”

As 87 players made the mark on two-under, there will be a further cut for the second year in


a row, to trim the field after three rounds. The leading 72 professionals and ties will contest the final round on Monday.

Yesterday, the underdogs again bared their teeth, and amateur Thorbjornsen thrilled with a brilliant 64, taking him to the lofty heights above so many celebrated golfers.

“It feels good,” the young American said. “I didn’t have the best round yesterday and then the day before, I felt like I missed a lot of putts out there. I thought I had a pretty good game plan but just stuck to it today. I actually made some putts.”

Spain’s Adri Arnaus and Swede Marcus Kinhult are also flirting with the lead alongside Scotland’s Connor Syme, so an upset could be on the Monday cards.

But when you glance over their shoulder, you can see the massive experience of Patrick Reed, Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy all ready to pounce in a packed leaderbaord, so anything can happen to end a week where it already has.

Roll on Sunday!



DAY 4 | SUNDAY | JANUARY 29, 2023
PATRON AND OFFICIAL PUBLISHER dubaidesertclassic.com #HeroDDC #RolexSeries dubaidcgolf
to roar
No. 1 is in contention
the Majlis.
Rory ready
The World
the marshals who ensure everything goes smoothly.
Crowd control Meet
Persad gets to grips with
Dubai Desert Classic.
Present and correct Rishi
the seeds
change the world
small step at a time.
Emirates Golf Club with your guide to the groups on day 4.
10-11 Get set for a super Sunday as Hero Dubai Desert Classic begins to take shape in the sunshine, with Pieters, Bland and a rookie leading the way

Weather Watch


Belgian and veteran Bland ready to grab the spotlight as we reach the business end in Dubai

After a subdued defence of his Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship title last week, Thomas Pieters has a point to prove. Actually quite a few points, as it is a Ryder Cup year and he is determined to make Luke Donald’s team when Europe take on the United States in Rome in September.

As the greatest players in Europe vie for those vital points in the UAE this week at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, the Belgian is ticking along quite nicely once again.

A 67 gave him a share of the lead on 10-under alongside Michal Thorbjornsen and Richard Bland, after a game of two halves on Saturday during a belated second round.

“I made the front nine look a bit scruffy,” he said after going out in 37, with three bogeys and a solitary birdie, but it soon picked up with a seven-birdie back nine for 30. “I was not in a good head space. And then I shoot that great back nine... I don’t know how, but my putting seemed to work, and you know, I’ve still got some tough to do on the range because my driving is pretty poor.

“My putting has kind of bailed me out after those bad drives. I can definitely see them rolling in from 15 feet which is a nice feeling. But I’ve

got to get a bit more stress free off the tee.” With 36 more holes still to be played as we reach Sunday at Emirates Golf Club, Pieters is dialling in.

“Yeah, there’s no stress levels,” he said. “I was just really angry after that poor first nine. It wasn’t really stress. I was just trying to get back into my round. But it’s nice to see your name up at the top.

“So now I go out, make more birdies. That makes me happy. Sometimes that works.”

His fellow leader is at the other end of the career spectrum, but Richard Bland is no fool around this course, having narrowly missed out on the crown to Viktor Hovland in a playoff 12 months ago.

Two solid five-under 67s have him in contention again, despite being an elder statesman at the age of 49 and old enough to be the dad of some of the players out here.

“The ball wasn’t going too far this morning,” Bland said of the change in the weather, which was still chilly after the rain, and also his creaking bones. “The ball was travelling a little further later, so I got caught out a couple of times. I hit like what I thought was a good shot and it came up with a 20-yard difference.

“But it was nice to play sun on your back at last, something we’re used to in Dubai. I came off a top-10 in Abu Dhabi last week, my first tournament after two months off, so it felt good that I didn’t have to really work on too much and it just about just kind of sharpening my game, and getting match fit as I sort of call it at my age.”

Editor-in-Chief Obaid Humaid Al Tayer Group Editor and Managing Partner Ian Fairservice Editor Matt Smith Art Director Clarkwin Cruz Chief Commercial Officer Anthony Milne Publisher David Burke General Manager – Production S. Sunil Kumar Production Manager Binu Purandaran head office Media One Tower, PO Box 2331, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 427 3000; Fax: +971 4 428 2266 dubai media city SD 2-94, 2nd Floor, Building 2, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 390 3550; Fax +971 4 390 4845 Email: motivate@motivate.ae abu dhabi 14th Floor, Office 1406, Makeen Tower, 9th Street, Al Zahiyah, PO Box 43072, Abu Dhabi, UAE Tel: +971 2 677 2005; Fax: +971 2 657 3401 Email: motivate-adh@motivate.ae saudi arabia Office 452, Regus Offices, 4th Floor, Al Hamad Tower, King Fahad Road, Al Olaya, Riyadh, KSA Tel: +966 11 834 3595 / +966 11 834 3596 Fax: +966 11 834 3501 Email: motivate@motivate.ae london Motivate Publishing Ltd, Acre House, 11/15 William Road, London, NW1 3ER, UK Email: motivateuk@motivate.ae visit golfdigestme.com for the latest coverage
The party is in full swing in the sunshine, so get down to enjoy the great weather at Emirates Golf Club today. Sunday ticket-holders can also enjoy the Monday finale as the rain stays away. 23 10 Mon 30th 22 11 Sun 29th Images Getty Images, Supplied by Falcon and Associates

McIlroy making gains

World No. 1 tidies up ‘sloppy’ play to stay in touch at the top

It’s hard to recall the last time Rory was not in contention whenever he picked up a club.

When you bring him to one of his favourite hunting grounds at Emirates Golf Club, his rivals at the 2023 Hero Dubai Desert Classic must know they need to bring their ‘A’ game to defy his quest for a third crown here — even when he doesn’t do the same.

The world No. 1 has seen the likes of Jon Rahm flirt with his status as the best on the planet, but he is determined to do his bit about that, come the final two rounds in Dubai. With an unremarkable 70 to follow his roller-coaster opening 66, the

Northern Irishman is somewhat content with his game as he sits T7 alongside a host of rivals including Patrick Reed and Ian Poulter, two behind the leading trio of Richard Bland, Thomas Pieters and amateur Michael Thorbjornsen.

“I would like some more of the same with two [rounds] to go but a bit poor so far,” he said despite rising above around 125 players in the field.

“I think I only hit two fairways today, So when you can’t hit fairways around here, and the rough is quite thick, it’s very hard to have any control of your ball and get it close into par 4s.

“I chipped and putted it well, and I sort of, you know, got myself around the golf course OK. Being able to post a couple of decent scores and at least have a chance going into the last two day is great.

“But definitely, I have more negatives than positives and need to go and figure it out on the range.”


With that he did indeed set off to the range, with a parting thought on the Monday finish for the Rolex Series event.

“I’m glad we are finishing. It’s good that all the field get an opportunity to play 72 holes. I think it’s a good thing. It’s such a big event. I think now the discrepancy between these big events on tour and then the lesser ones, that fourth day could mean a lot to someone in terms of changing the course of their year or the course of their career.

“Obviously happy we are playing 72, and it’s not as if people have to go that far. Most of the guys are going to Ras Al-Khaimah, a few guys are going to Saudi Arabia [for the $5 million Saudi International on the Asian Tour], so we’re not having to go anywhere else. Everyone can sort of still get to their destinations on Monday night. Thankfully for me, there’s two more rounds.

Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed are both T7 going into the third round
Pars for McIlroy during his second round on the Majlis Course on Saturday


Englishman on the hunt to end title drought at Hero Dubai Desert Classic

Ian Poulter has had to wait a while since his last title on the DP Wourld Tour, but as the golfing world comes to terms with a new layout, he may as well grab the latest opportunity by the neck. Following a solid second round in the UAE, the Englishman is T7 at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic alongside Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed and two behind the leaders on eight-under.

The Ryder Cup star last tasted victory in 2018, but has since moved to LIV Golf and a new journey.

“I’ve played pretty much flawless golf,” said Poulter after a delayed conclusion to Round 2. “Round one, no bogeys, seven birdies, which was nice. And today, I had just as many chances. I just didn’t take them.

“I am a little bit frustrated coming off at eight-under par. I really felt to be honest I coulda, woulda, shoulda, had a few more but we always say that when you see a few lip out and slide past and then you wish you had holed a few more.

Poulter was one of the few who began his second 18 on Friday, getting in a few holes before darkness, after the nasty weather had messed up the early playing schedule.

“After a good Round 1, it was such a quick turnaround on Friday night, then we were off the course as it gets dark pretty early. But I got enough sleep and was back at it with a quick breakfast, stretch, warmup, and ready to roll.”

When Poulter is this jovial, anything can happen.

Dubai Golf gets the ball rolling

After a successful 2022, DP World’s Second Life Container is making its return to the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

To celebrate the relaunch of the golf ball initiative in 2023, Dubai Golf has donated 3,000 golf balls to support DP World’s grassroots initiative which aims to grow golf globally, drive positive community impact and make the sport more accessible.

In 2022, DP World’s container collected 130,024 golf balls at over 30 tournaments for reuse around the world. DP World is now on a mission to collect even more in 2023.

The balls get a new lease of life at grassroots projects around the world, with DP World focusing on three key areas of growth for the sport — golf for the disabled, junior golf and women’s golf — hoping to inspire and encourage more people to take up the sport.

“I’m pleased our Second Life Container initiative is back for the 2023 DP World Tour season,” said Daniel van Otterdijk, Chief Communications Officer at DP World. “Last year was a huge success, with over 130,000 golf balls collected, it’s great for DP World to play a part in growing the game of golf globally and making the sport more accessible. Thanks to Chris May and the whole Dubai Golf team for their generous donation, the balls are going to an extremely worthy cause.”

Chris May, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Golf, added: “The DP World Second Life Container was a remarkable success in 2022. So, we wanted to help DP World with its collection in 2023, by donating 3,000 used golf balls to the initiative to get this season’s collection off to a great start.”


Quality control

“It has been two crazy days with the weather and small crowds, but now the sun is out we are expecting a much bigger turnout for the weekend,” the Malaysian says as the players go through their practice swings on the raised tee behind both him and the rope.

Volunteer marshals like Eddie keep everyone happy at

The weekend is here, the rain has gone and that means thousands of fans flocked to the Hero Dubai Desert Classic to watch their favourites in the pursuit of glory. With such large numbers coming to the grounds of Emirates Golf Club, keeping everyone in order is no mean feat, and a team of hundreds of volunteers across the Majlis Course ensure everything flows smoothly — from hushing the crowds during vital drives and putts to manning the crossing points and controlling the


Dubai Desert Classic, on both sides of the ropes

By Matt Smith

movement of fans with minimal distraction to the players.

One man whose job attracts more attention than most is Eddie, whose responsibility is controlling the crowds eager to catch a glimpse of stars such as Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood as they tee off on the first hole.

Next to the official announcer and guarding the ropes near the range, putting greens and practice area is a bottle neck at the entrance to the venue. This is where excitement is at its peak, where the crowds are large, and where etiquette can be the hardest to maintain as the fans arrive through the gates in a rush to get to their desired destinations.

“It will be great for the game now the crowds are back to enjoy the action. Managing the event, the whole team has done a great job as we have been battling the weather as well as trying to keep everything in order with the fans — the noise and making sure they are not getting in the players way.

“Sometimes, especially later in the afternoon, some of the more boisterous fans can get a bit too excited and you have to have a word with them.”

It is a well-oiled machine now that the tournament is in its 34th year.

“Everybody across the course has a dedicated job,” explains Eddie. “We have a dedicated set of volunteers to serve each group on the course. They are on the move with the players, then we have the static marshals who control the specific points around the 18 holes and the larger area, such as crossing points, the greens and the tee boxes.”

While the weather has already proved a unique challenge, Eddie is prepared for a new test as the crowds get bigger going towards the finale.

“Maybe due to the rain the turn-out may be a little smaller than we have seen in the past but these coming days will bring them out more and more and we are all set for a busy day on Sunday. But it will all run smoothly as we have all the training and experience. It will be fun.”

If you are planning to walk the course following your favourite stars, make sure to observe those dedicated volunteers with their ‘Quiet Please’ signs.





(Scotland) +6

The only back-to-back champion in the history of the tournament will have to wait for that triple crown as the 48-year-old shot a matching pair of 75s. On to the Junior Ryder Cup in Rome for the new captain.


(Spain) +5

The 2012 winner here at Emirates Golf Club goes back to the drawing board after a disappointing opening 75 had him in early trouble. A second-round 72 was not enough to get him back above the cut-line.


(Austria) +3

The Viennese was heavily fancied coming into the tournament thanks to some strong showings on the PGA Tour over the past 12 months. But a 73 and 74 kept him well down the pecking order and out of the reckoning.


(Italy) +3

The victorious Hero Cup captain had been going through a renaissance lately with some great showings culminating in a fifth-place finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship last week. No such luck this time with a 72 and 75.


(Ireland) +2

The Irish Jekyll and Hyde tale of the week saw the three-time major winner and fourthplaced player in Abu Dhabi last time out card a horrendous 81 in the opening round before a stunning 65 was too little too late.

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Present charms

TV presenter Rishi Persad gets

business at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic

Those of you who follow sport on TV may spot a familiar face around the grounds at Emirates Golf Club this weekend.

Having graced the small screen presenting and reporting on a wide range of sports for the likes of the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 in the UK, Rishi Persad is on MC and ceremony duties this week at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic. And it has been quite a journey to the Middle East — from the Caribbean to Europe and beyond.

“I started broadcasting in 2002 and joined the BBC not long after, primarily on horse racing which is the sport I grew up in the Caribbean on the island of Trinidad,” Persad said in Dubai.

Cricket and racing were the two sports I followed as a kid. Then I came to the UK for school and I took up golf in my late twenties.

“I wasn’t bad at cricket so I thought I would be able to play golf. However, I soon realised the hard way that they had no correlation whatsoever and I should stick to the microphone.

“I worked away on the racing and some cricket for Channel 4, snooker and Wimbledon, the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, so it was a

broad spectrum, including covering the horse racing in Dubai for the World Cup.” The chance to cover golf wasn’t long in coming along — and it was quite a baptism of fire.

“My first opportunity in golf was in at the deep end a bit as it was at the Ryder Cup at Medinah, where Europe

staged that amazing win over the US,” Parsad said. “When I was growing up in Trinidad, my dad hated golf and, as a consequence, I never took an interest in playing it. I watched it on TV, watching the Masters on the BBC always heralded the start of summer, so I became the avid viewer. Then came the opportunity at Medinah in 2012, and it went OK and I got the gig to go to the Masters the following year, which was famous for that Tiger Woods drop and the furore about whether it was a legal drop. Speaking to Tiger for the first time that weekend was quite an introduction!

“The Open and more Ryder Cups followed and I began to be associated with golf as much as I was with cricket and racing.”

Now the Dubai Desert Classic can be added to the CV, not that this is Persad’s first time at EGC.

“Since coming out to Dubai for the first time in 2003 to cover the racing World Cup, it is amazing to see how it has all changed, from the growth of the World Cup week itself — from Nad Al Sheba to the stunning Meydan Racecourse with its hotel and golf course — to the city and obviously the golfing scene as well,” he said.

“I fell in love with it all the first year I came over. I have been here [the Desert Classic] many times before as a guest and visitor, coming out in the lead up to the Dubai World Cup, I got quite a few chances to pop along to the golf here.

“I find it easier to walk the course here to follow the game — it is great to cut across to quickly get to the relevant hole.”

And with presentation duties to fulfil, Persad has an extended stay in the UAE with the tournament now finishing on Monday.

“I have to stay on,” he laughed. “An extra night in the hotel and the unique first Monday finish. The two things that have struck me about this week is the je ne c’est quoi attitude of everyone involved here; the attitude that they will do whatever it takes to get it done. No one has ever sounded panicked, and they were saying: ‘We will get it done.’ I believe that could be a motto for Dubai as a whole. The attitude is admirable.”

Persad himself conveyed the same attitude as he headed off for presentation duties on the first tee and’getting it done’ for the Monday finish.

It is amazing to see how it has all changed, from racing, to the city and obviously the golfing scene too
night in the
Rishi’s first taste of Dubai for the racing World Cup and the Dubai Desert Classic
UAE for Rishi as he
on Monday
Above: Rishi Persad takes part in the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am back in 2016 Right: The presenter takes in the sunshine at this year’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic
down to

Order of Play

JANUARY 29, 2023

Plan the day watching your favourite players with this guide to the groupings and tee times.

1. TIME 07:10 HOLE 1

◼ Nathan KIMSEY (ENG) -2

◼ Fabrizio ZANOTTI (PAR) -2

◼ Jamie DONALDSON (WAL) -2

2. TIME 07:20 HOLE 1

◼ Andy SULLIVAN (ENG) -2

◼ Richard MANSELL (ENG) -2

◼ Yannik PAUL (GER) -2

3. TIME 07:30 HOLE 1

◼ Nicolas COLSAERTS (BEL) -2

◼ Dale WHITNELL (ENG) -2

◼ Scott JAMIESON (SCO) -2

4. TIME 07:40 HOLE 1

◼ Antoine ROZNER (FRA) -2

◼ Miguel Ángel JIMÉNEZ (ESP) -2

◼ Matthew SOUTHGATE (ENG) -2

5. TIME 07:50 HOLE 1

◼ Tapio PULKKANEN (FIN) -2

◼ Daniel HILLIER (NZL) -2

◼ Justin WALTERS (RSA) -2

6. TIME 08:05 HOLE 1

◼ Rasmus HØJGAARD (DEN) -2

◼ Jason SCRIVENER (AUS) -2

◼ Jordan SMITH (ENG) -2

7. TIME 08:15 HOLE 1

◼ Henrik STENSON (SWE) -2

◼ Tyrrell HATTON (ENG) -2

◼ Luke DONALD (ENG) -2

8. TIME 08:25 HOLE 1

◼ Marc WARREN (SCO) -2

◼ Marcel SCHNEIDER (GER) -2


9. TIME 08:35 HOLE 1

◼ Lukas NEMECZ (AUT) -3

◼ Niklas NØRGAARD (DEN) -3

◼ Darius VAN DRIEL (NED) -3

10. TIME 08:45 HOLE 1

◼ Kalle SAMOOJA (FIN) -3


◼ Hennie DU PLESSIS (RSA) -3

11. TIME 08:55 HOLE 1


◼ Jens DANTORP (SWE) -4

◼ David LAW (SCO) -4

12. TIME 09:10 HOLE 10

◼ Paul WARING (ENG) -4

◼ Julien GUERRIER (FRA) -4

◼ John CATLIN (USA) -4

13. TIME 09:20 HOLE 10

◼ Ryan FOX (NZL) -4

◼ Matthew JORDAN (ENG) -4


14. TIME 09:30 HOLE 10


◼ Mikael LINDBERG (SWE) -4

◼ Maximilian KIEFFER (GER) -4

15. TIME 09:40 HOLE 10

◼ Daan HUIZING (NED) -4

◼ Joost LUITEN (NED) -4

◼ Grant FORREST (SCO) -4

16. TIME 09:50 HOLE 10

◼ Andrew JOHNSTON (ENG) -4

◼ Chase HANNA (USA) -4

◼ Jeunghun WANG (KOR) -5

17. TIME 10:00 HOLE 10

◼ Nicolai HØJGAARD (DEN) -5

◼ Romain LANGASQUE (FRA) -5

◼ Victor PEREZ (FRA) -5

18. TIME 10:15 HOLE 10

◼ Robert MACINTYRE (SCO) -5

◼ Alexander BJÖRK (SWE) -5

◼ Ewen FERGUSON (SCO) -5

19. TIME 10:25 HOLE 10

◼ Ashun WU (CHN) -5

◼ Jorge CAMPILLO (ESP) -5

◼ Adrian OTAEGUI (ESP) -5

20. TIME 10:35 HOLE 10

◼ Oliver BEKKER (RSA) -5


◼ Shaun NORRIS (RSA) -6

21. TIME 10:45 HOLE 10

◼ Min Woo LEE (AUS) -6

◼ Tommy FLEETWOOD (ENG) -6

◼ Justin HARDING (RSA) -6

22. TIME 10:55 HOLE 10

◼ Daniel GAVINS (ENG) -6

◼ Jacques KRUYSWIJK (RSA) -6

◼ Ludvig ABERG (AM) (SWE) -6

23. TIME 11:05 HOLE 1

◼ Marcus ARMITAGE (ENG) -7

◼ Callum SHINKWIN (ENG) -7

◼ Johannes VEERMAN (USA) -7

24. TIME 11:20 HOLE 1

◼ Louis DE JAGER (RSA) -7

◼ Calum HILL (SCO) -7

◼ Thorbjørn OLESEN (DEN) -7

25. TIME 11:31 HOLE 1

◼ Julien BRUN (FRA) -7

◼ Matt WALLACE (ENG) -8

◼ Patrick REED (USA) -8

26. TIME 11:42 HOLE 1

◼ Rory MCILROY (NIR) -8



27. TIME 11:53 HOLE 1

◼ Lucas HERBERT (AUS) -8

◼ Ian POULTER (ENG) -8

◼ Angel HIDALGO (ESP) -8

28. TIME 12:04 HOLE 1

◼ Connor SYME (SCO) -9

◼ Adri ARNAUS (ESP) -9

◼ Marcus KINHULT (SWE) -9

29. TIME 12:15 HOLE 1

◼ Michael THORBJORNSEN (AM) (USA) -10

◼ Thomas PIETERS (BEL) -10

◼ Richard BLAND (ENG) -10

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Al Khail Metro Station Main Entranc e Tournament Town Clubhouse TV Compound General Parking Public Access PL EB VIP TG MC MV D GENERAL PUBLI C C A B E KZ DR EN MT PL EB DR VIP MC KZ Ticketing G eneral Public Access Toilet s M erchandise G iant Screen Scoreboard Public Catering Public Grandstand s Water Dispenser Walking Path Parking Area M edical Kid’s Zone Players’ Loung e Essences Bar Driving Rang e Hospitality M edia Centre Top Golf Members Deck EGC Members Terrace ENBD Card Holders Dec k M arshals / Volunteers Solar Panels Taxis Careem TG MV EN MT # YDS MTRS PAR # YDS MTRS PAR 1 469 429 4 10 549 502 5 2 351 321 4 11 169 155 3 3 601 550 5 12 476 435 4 4 180 165 3 13 554 507 5 5 451 412 4 14 434 397 4 6 485 443 4 15 190 174 3 7 186 170 3 16 463 423 4 8 459 420 4 17 359 328 4 9 488 446 4 18 564 516 5 OUT 3670 3356 35 IN 3758 3437 37 TOTAL 7428 6793 72 MAP 11
12 IN FRAME Alice in Wonderland takes to the stage A refeshing time at the free water station The entertainers spring into action Eat your greens Simulators in Tournament Town Bounce party for the kids at last Sisters are all smiles The next champion? Creative kids

The fans were back in force after the nasty weather

13 Clear skies ahead Ryan Fox tees off on 17 amid the crowds
The legend Jiménez smokes The solar panels at Emirates Golf Club Marcus Helligkilde finds some trouble Richard Bland reflects on a fine round

“He played well. But that’s just the way it goes”

Tiger Woods after defeating Ernie Els to the 2008 title

“This win has definitely moved me up a step and I just want to keep getting better and better”

Rory McIlroy after his first professional win in 2009

“I hadn’t holed a putt like that to win a golf tournament before that all, or since then really. So was just a really exhilarating feeling”

Danny Willett after his 2016 success

“I didn’t really think this was possible. A lot of things had to go my way, and I’m thankful they did”

Viktor Hovland is glad of McIlroy’s error on the 18th in 2022

“I was trying to figure out how to take account of all the variables out there — air pressure, firmness values, mile-per-hour on the speed, putts and ball speed, spin rates”

The secret to ‘Scientist’

Bryson DeChambeau’s success in 2019

“It’s very cool because I didn’t enjoy my golf in 2020. I mean, I played well one week but that was about it”

Paul Casey gets back to winning ways in 2021


As the tournament’s Patron and Official Publisher, Motivate Media Group has been there every step of the way. That’s every drive, every putt and every shot covered since 1989.




Eamonn Darcy, 1990 Seve Ballesteros, 1992 Ernie Els, 1994; José Coceres, 2000

Rory McIlroy, 2009 Sergio Garcia, 2017


Lowest 18-hole score 61 (-11), Ernie Els, 1994

Lowest first 18-hole score 61 (-11), Ernie Els, 1994

Lowest first 36-hole score 128 (-16), Tiger Woods, 2001

Lowest first 54-hole score

Lowest 72-hole score


1989 Mark James beat Peter O’Malley

1992 Seve Ballesteros beat Ronan Rafferty

1997 Richard Green beat Greg Norman and Ian Woosnam

2006 Tiger Woods beat Ernie Els

2010 Miguel Ángel Jiménez beat Lee Westwood

2020 Lucas Herbert beat Christiaan Bezuidenhout

2022 Victor Hovland beat Richard Bland


Ernie Els: 1994, 2002, 20053 7
195 (-21), Stephen Gallacher, 2013
DeChambeau, 2019
Bryson DeChambeau, 2019
(-24), Bryson DeChambeau, 2019 Lowest under par winning score
(-24), Bryson
Lowest final round by a winner
Bryson DeChambeau 2019
16 1989 - Mark James 277 (-11) 1990 - Eamonn Darcy 276 (-12) 1992 - Seve Ballesteros 272 (-16) 1993 - Wayne Westner 274 (-14) 1994 - Ernie Els 268 (-20) 1995 - Fred Couples 268 (-20) 1996 - Colin Montgomerie 270 (-18) 1997 - Richard Green 272 (-16) 1998 - José Maria Olazábal 269 (-19) 1999 - David Howell 275 (-13) 2000 - José Cóceres 274 (-14) 2001 - Thomas Bjørn 266 (-22)
- Ernie Els 272 (-16)
Robert-Jan Derksen 271 (-17)
Mark O’Meara 271 (-17)
Ernie Els 269 (-19)
Tiger Woods 269 (-19)
Henrik Stenson 269 (-19)
- Tiger Woods 274 (-14)
- Rory McIlroy 269 (-19)
- Miguel Ángel Jiménez 277 (-11)
- Álvaro Quirós 277 (-11) 2012
Rafa Cabrera Bello 270 (-18)
Stephen Gallacher 266 (-22)
Gallacher 272 (-16)
McIlroy 266
2003 -
2004 -
2005 -
2006 -
2007 -
2013 -
2014 - Stephen
2015 - Rory
(-22) 2016 - Danny Willett
(-19) 2017 - Sergio Garcia
(-19) 2018 - Li Haotong
DeChambeau 264 (-24)
Lucas Herbert 279 (-9)
- Paul Casey 271 (-17) 2022 - Victor Hovland 276 (-12)
2019 - Bryson
2020 -

All the key Hero Dubai Desert Classic facts and figures to enhance your viewing pleasure

34th Edition

Emirates Golf Club is set to stage the Dubai Desert Classic for the 32nd time. The event was twice held at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club in 1999 and 2000.

139 LOW CUT (-5), 2018

149 HIGH CUT (+5), 1989

This is Major

The Desert Classic's roll of honour includes 11 Major champions: Ballesteros (1992), Els (1994, 2002, 2005), Couples (1995), Olazábal (1998), O’Meara (2004), Woods (2006, 2008), McIlroy (2009, 2015), Stenson (2007), Willett (2016), Garcia (2017) and DeChambeau (2019)

6 shots

Biggest final round comeback by a winner: Lucas Herbert, 2020


Mark O’Meara, 47 years and 54 days, 2004 YOUNGEST WINNER Rory McIlroy, 19 years and 273 days, 2009


hole, Rnd 3, 2018

Kristoffer Broberg

hole, Rnd 1, 2019 Nacho Elvira

hole, Rnd 1, 2021

PRIZE PURSE 1989: €251,708.00 2023: $9,000,000.00 (Winner's share €58,324.00) (Winner's share: €1,413,349.74) CONSECUTIVE WINS Stephen Gallacher 2013 and 2014 HOLESIN-ONE Miguel Ángel Jiménez 4th Hole, Rnd 2, 1990 Chris Moody 11th Hole, Rnd 3, 1990 Mark McNulty 11th Hole, Rnd 3, 1990 José Cóceres 7th Hole, Rnd 2, 1992 Wayne Westner 7th Hole, Rnd 1, 1995 José Cóceres 4th Hole, Rnd 1, 1996 Roger Wessels 7th Hole, Rnd 2, 1996 Peter Hedblom 15th Hole, Rnd 2, 1996 Stuart Cage 8th Hole, Rnd 1, 1999 (Dubai Creek) Peter Downie 16th Hole, Rnd 1, 2000 (Dubai Creek) Henrik Bjørnstad 7th Hole, Rnd 4, 2002 Brad Kennedy 4th Hole, Rnd 2, 2004 Yasin Ali 7th Hole, Rnd 1, 2005 Nobuhito Sato 15th Hole, Rnd 1, 2005 Stephen Gallacher 4th Hole, Rnd 4, 2005 Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño 4th Hole, Rnd 2, 2007 Miguel Ángel Jiménez 7th hole, Rnd 1, 2008 Louis Oosthuizen 11th hole, Rnd 2, 2009 David Howell 7th hole, Rnd 1, 2011 Keith Horne 4th hole, Rnd 2, 2011 Raphaël Jacquelin 7th hole, Rnd 3, 2011 Álvaro Quirós 11th hole, Rnd 4, 2011 Stephen Gallacher 15th hole, Rnd 1, 2012 Martin Kaymer 7th hole, Rnd 2, 2012 Álvaro Quirós 4th hole, Rnd 4, 2015 Grégory Bourdy 11th hole, Rnd 3, 2017 Matthew Southgate 7th hole, Rnd 2, 2018 Alexander
Ryan Fox
hole, Rnd 3, 2022 *All at Emirates G.C. unless noted
17 Stats

Eedama is on hand at Hero Dubai Desert Classic to promote sustainable living in the UAE one simple step at a time


The Hero Dubai Desert Classic is now a world leader when it comes to encouraging ecological change for the good, and the fans at Emirates Golf Course got their hands dirty with the help of Eedama, so they can also play their part.

Eedama is an independent social enterprise founded in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi in 2015 that promotes sustainable development by supporting citizens, schools and organisations in embracing sustainability within their practices — and they were on hand to sow the seeds of sustainability through a series of workshops in Tournament Town at Emirates Golf Club.

“Eedama comes from the Arabic verb ‘to make it last’ which is what sustainability is all about: Being proactive,” said Huda Masalmeh, Manager and Sustainability Consultant at Eedama. “We were set up as a driving force behind the needed change in people’s behaviour towards the environment. Our journey of change initially focused on the individual and the community through the development of innovative educational content, consisting mostly of training and coaching sessions, and science-based, hands-on workshops.

We also allow people to have an immersive and concrete experience of the desired change.

“Our environmental workshops spread awareness on different sustainability themes such as low waste, agriculture, water efficiency and more, letting people see that they should not underestimate their impact as individuals towards the planet.

“Events like the Hero Dubai Desert Classic are very important as they can promote and enforce behavioural change in participants and to be part of the change and promote practices to solve the social and environmental crises that we’re facing.”

In Tournament Town, the fans were taking note.

“Looking back at the past week, you would not have expected such a great day. We are here at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic to showcase the possibilities for golf courses to be more eco-friendly in design and operation,” said Wadi Kanaan, Eedama sustainability instructor and facilitator.

“We are looking to get the message across to the fans also to make changes in human behaviour, not just in ways of living but also in sustainable behaviours,” added his colleague Ekaterina Mukhina. “We are showcasing how you can do your own DIY cosmetics at home that are easy — Dubai people love the simplest ways to do things. We are also coaching ways to do urban farming, which is again, easy, cheap and so helpful to the environment — we are encouraging the eco-way.”

Wadi conveyed the one message fans should take away from this weekend at the golf: “Being ecofriendly is something you can embed into your life without disrupting your life. It starts with small steps, enjoy your normal life with little changes and feel good about being part of this global movement that will preserve this planet for future generations.”

With seedballs at the ready, fans went away with more than just fond memories of their time at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

Top: Eedama sustainability instructor and facilitators Wadi Kanaan and Ekaterina Mukhina (left). Above: Eedama held a series of workshops at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic this week Right: Ekaterina explains the simple changes you can make to a fan at Emirates Golf Club
STRUCTURES | INTERIORS | SEATING | EVENT SERVICES | SCAFFOLDING | EXHIBITIONS | VISUAL MERCHANDISING & GRAPHICS | ICE RINKS | FURNITURE | FENCING & BARRIERS arenamea.com | info@arenamea.com GLOBAL EVENTS. DESIGNED AND DELIVERED. ACTIVATION 19 TOURNAMENTTOWN SCHEDULE SUNDAY 09:00 - 17:00 Graffiti Artist 10:00 - 18:00 Caricaturist 10:20 - 10:50 Sustainability DIY Workshop 11:10 - 11:40 Sustainability Seed Bombs Workshop 12:00 - 12:30 Sustainability Urban Farming Workshop 12:50 - 13:20 Sustainability Sustainable Lucky Wheel 13:40 - 14:10 Sustainability DIY Workshop 14:30 - 15:00 Sustainability Seed Bombs Workshop 18:00 - 23:00 Live Music

We would like to thank the following for their invaluable support of the 2023 Hero Dubai Desert Classic, held at Emirates Golf Club from January 26 - 29