Players pose with an official at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai on Wednesday. Supplied
With qualifying for this year’s Ryder Cup high on Sergio Garcia’s agenda, the former Dubai Desert Classic (DDC) winner knows a good week at Emirates Golf Club could provide the spark he needs to help cement a tenth career appearance for Team Europe.
“This is obviously a course that I enjoy and I like playing - and I’ve done well here in the past which definitely can help,” said Garcia, who held off Henrik Stenson to win by three strokes in 2017 before later going on to win that year’s Masters.
“This year is a big year with a lot of big tournaments to be played with The Ryder Cup, the Olympics and the Majors, so we’ll see what this week holds.
“Everyone knows how much I love The Ryder Cup and I would love to be a part of a few more - and that’s obviously one of the biggest goals of the year for me.”
Play gets underway on Thursday and Garcia will be joined for the opening two rounds by Ryder Cup teammate Tyrrell Hatton and American star Collin Morikawa, who is making his OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic debut.
The 23-year-old Californian shot into the limelight last year with victory at the US PGA Championship in San Francisco and is keen to enjoy just as much success in 2021.
“It’s exciting to come out here and compete with some guys that I know and some guys that I’ve obviously seen a lot, but I’m here solely focused on trying to win this week and getting off to a good start tomorrow,” said Morikawa. “Off the tee, this course is very demanding and the rough is up in a lot of places.
“The fairways are pretty narrow, so getting the ball into the fairway off the tee is going to be key. The greens are pretty small, so hopefully I can get the ball in the fairway, hit some good iron shots and then make some putts.”
A truly world-class field has been assembled for the 32nd staging of the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic which includes Ryder Cup stars Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey, and Major champions Ernie Els, Shane Lowry, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Danny Willett and Padraig Harrington.
Attendance at the event is for invited guests only but the action will be beamed to a worldwide audience on mainstream broadcast sports networks and highlights and exclusive content will be shared on the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic social media channels. The OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic, often referred to as the “Major of the Middle East”, is among the most highly anticipated golfing events, showcasing seasoned talent from around the world and attracting up and coming stars of tomorrow. Past champions include Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Fred Couples, Ernie Els, Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett, Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson, Colin Montgomerie, Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
The tournament, held on the Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club, will be staged from 28 - 31 January 2021. It takes its place on the European Tour’s International Schedule for the 32nd time and is the oldest professional golf tournament in the Middle East.
https://www.omegadubaidesertclassic.com/ Tournament partners OMEGA, renowned for its innovative watchmaking, is title sponsor of both the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic and OMEGA Dubai Moonlight Classic.
Through its association with many of the world’s most high-profile competitions, organisations and players, OMEGA is committed to supporting the game’s rising stars and introducing golf to a new generation of fans.
Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), founding partner of the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic, is the world’s largest ‘premium aluminium’ producer and the biggest industrial company in the UAE outside oil and gas. EGA’s long term support for the tournament demonstrates their corporate commitment to the socio-economic development of the UAE as well as to promoting the country internationally.