Rory McIlroy has confirmed his return to the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic in January, with the four-time major champion seeking a third Coffee Pot trophy.
The world No 8, winner at Emirates Golf Club in 2009 and 2015, will tee it up at the January 27-30 event alongside current world No 2 and Race to Dubai champion Collin Morikawa, 2017 Desert Classic winner Sergio Garcia and defending champion Paul Casey.
McIlroy, 32, has not competed at the tournament since 2018, when he finished runner-up – one shot behind winner Li Haotong. Next year’s Desert Classic will for the first time be staged under the banner of title sponsors Slync.io, while it has also been upgraded to a Rolex Series event. Its purse has been increased to $8 million.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to Emirates Golf Club for the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic in 2022,” McIlroy said in a statement on Tuesday. “I have so many wonderful memories from playing in Dubai over the years, and particularly over the Majlis Course, where I’ve been able to win twice.
"I look forward to coming back to Dubai and aiming to get my hands on that incredible trophy again.”
Aside from victories in 2009 – his first as a professional – and 2015, McIlroy has six other top-10 finishes in his past eight appearances at the Desert Classic.
The Northern Irishman has 14 wins in all on the European Tour – the circuit was this month rebranded the DP World Tour - including twin successes at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, in 2012 and 2015. McIlroy, a former world No 1, finished top of the Race to Dubai in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
“As a fan of golf, it’s important that we bring a field that other fans will enjoy,” Chris Kirchner, chairman and CEO of Slync.io said. “Rory is one of my favourite players and I’m thrilled to have him as part of the inaugural title partnership for Slync.io.”
McIlroy's first European Tour title at 2009 Dubai Desert Classic
The Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic will represent the second successive Rolex Series event in the UAE, following the series-opener at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship the week before. McIlroy, a four-time runner-up in the capital, was last week confirmed for that event also.
Simon Corkill, executive tournament director of the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic, said: “The addition of Rory McIlroy to an already strong field emphasises the pedigree of the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic. As one of the most talented golfers in the world, he brings plenty of energy and excitement to the tournament.
“We look forward to seeing Rory battle it out with Collin Morikawa, Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey and others in a truly world-class field at this year’s event."
Meanwhile, organisers confirmed on Tuesday that entry to the 2022 Desert Classic will be free for all four tournament days.
Corkill added: “With the UAE set to celebrate its Golden Jubilee, we are delighted to announce that entry will be free for all golf fans over the four days of the tournament.
“This decision was made in recognition of this special moment in the UAE’s history, while also giving something back to sports fans following the challenges that have been faced in 2020 and 2021. What better way to celebrate than through a truly global sporting event on our doorstep which everyone can enjoy.”