It is one of the unmissable events of the season on the European Tour, just like the Scottish Open or the BMW PGA Championship.
The Omega Dubai Desert Classic celebrates its 32nd edition this week.
This coincides with the 50th anniversary of the creation of the United Arab Emirates.
The tournament was born in 1989. It was played in early May before settling regularly in the calendar between late January and early March.
Englishman Mark James won the first edition ahead of Australian Peter O'Malley.
Many big stars have since put their names on the charts.
These include Severiano Ballesteros (1992), Ernie Els (1994, 2002), Fred Couples (1995), Colin Montgomerie (1996), José Maria Olazabal (1998), Mark O'Meara (2004), Tiger Woods (2006, 08 ), Henrik Stenson (2007), Rory McIlroy (2009, 15), Rafa Cabrera-Bello (2012), Sergio Garcia (2017) and Bryson DeChambeau (2019).
All or almost all Major winners!
»READ ALSO - Abu Dhabi HSBC Chp: Hatton, much stronger than McIlroy, wins the first Rolex Series of the season
These illustrious champions have won the emblematic Maljis Course at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai.
A par 72 of 6,789 meters, the first dubaoïte course out of the desert as if by magic, omnipresent.
Only twice has the tournament been held elsewhere than in Maljis.
More precisely at the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club between 1999 and 2000.
Given the health situation linked to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 vintage will be played behind closed doors between Thursday and Sunday.
Only a few handpicked guests will be able to wander the course after having been tested.
This should be fun @ OMEGAGolfDubai # ODDCpic.twitter.com / HEDbHdknx2
- The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 26, 2021
The field offered is almost as strong as last week in Abu Dhabi, the first Rolex Series of the season which saw Englishman Tyrrell Hatton win brilliantly.
The now world No. 5 is right at the start, well surrounded by several of his compatriots, all candidates for the next Ryder Cup (September 24-26, 2021) such as Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Matt Wallace, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey.
The latter, most often on the PGA Tour, does not arrive alone from the United States.
Collin Morikawa, 23, winner of the last PGA Championship, is there too.
This is his second experience on the European Tour after the DP World Tour Championship last December.
Morikawa here perpetuates the tradition that a big name of the PGA Tour, American most often, is at the start in Dubai.
He will also have the pressure because his legendary elders have won the image of Fred Couples, Mark O'Meara, Bryson DeChambeau and, of course, Tiger Woods.
The Tiger who had come close to achieving an unprecedented hat-trick, finishing third in 2007 after winning in 2006 and 2008. In fact, only the Scotsman Stephen Gallacher finally managed to retain his title in 2014 after his success in 2013. The British veteran , winner of the 2014 Ryder Cup at his home in Gleneagles, is still in contention this week ...
Victor Perez, at the forefront after 54 holes in 2020
It will also be necessary to watch a few recent winners such as the Spaniard Sergio Garcia, the Englishman Danny Willett, in clear regain of form, or even the Chinese Haotong Li, the first Asian golfer to win in 2018, a stroke in front of Rory McIlroy.
We will also follow with curiosity the performance of Miguel Angel Jimenez, 57 years old, 710 starts on the Tour, author of 10 holes in one.
The Andalusian, winner in 2010, will take part in his 27th Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
He was already there in 1990.
On the French side, they are eight engaged.
34th player in the world, Victor Perez was one of the main players in the 2020 edition. After three rounds, the Tarbais was in second place, a blow behind the Chinese Li, before cracking on Sunday (79!) And to take 16th place in the final, leaving it to Mike Lorenzo-Vera to finish in the top 10 (8th), alongside Bryson DeChambeau, the outgoing champion, and the young Scottish prodigy, Robert MacIntyre.
Sixteenth and best tricolors in Abu Dhabi, Benjamin Hébert, Antoine Rozner and Romain Langasque will try to get a little closer to the top of the leaderboard…
Omega Dubai Desert Classic (European Tour) - € 2,679,734 endowment
Players to watch
Lucas Herbert (Aus), Collin Morikawa (USA), Tyrrell Hatton (Ang), Matthew Fitzpatrick (Ang), Tommy Fleetwood (Ang), Paul Casey (Ang), Shane Lowry (Irl), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (AfS), Justin Rose (Ang), Lee Westwood (Ang), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Sergio Garcia (Esp), Ian Poulter (Ang), Matt Wallace (Ang), Robert MacIntyre (Eco), Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Esp), Mikko Korhonen (End), Stephen Gallacher (Eco), David Lipsky (USA), Joost Luiten (PB), Haotong Li (Chn), Wade Ormsby (Aus), Henrik Stenson (Sue), George Coetzee (AfS), Rasmus Hojgaard (Dan ), Ernie Els (AfS), Miguel Angel Jimenez (Esp), Danny Willett (Ang), Jason Scrivener (Aus), Matthew Southgate (Ang), Nacho Elvira (Esp), Oliver Wilson (Ang), Chris Paisley (Ang) , Nino Bertasio (Ita), Fabrizio Zanotti (Par), Jazz Janewattananond (Tha), David Horsey (Ang).
The French engaged
Victor Perez, Alexander Levy, Antoine Rozner, Romain Langasque, Benjamin Hébert, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Matthieu Pavon, Victor Dubuisson.
To follow the Omega Dubai Desert Classic (European Tour) on TV:
Thursday January 28, 1st round: 5:00 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. (Golf +)
Friday January 29, 2nd round: 8:30 a.m. (Golf +)
Saturday January 30, 3rd round: 9:30 a.m. (Golf +)
Sunday January 31, 4th round: 9:30 a.m. (Golf +)