Dubai Invitational: Players, format and all you need to know about the new golf event

Rory McIlroy headlines the new tournament taking place at Dubai Golf & Yacht Club this week

Rory McIlroy begins two weeks in the UAE by playing in the inaugural Dubai Invitational. EPA
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A new tournament will kickstart 2024 on the DP World Tour and begin a five-week stretch of professional golf in the Middle East. Here is all you need to know ahead of the inaugural Dubai Invitational.

What is it?

The Dubai Invitational is a new professional golf tournament on the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour. Its format differs from most strokeplay events in that the field is a limited pro-am comprising 60 professionals playing alongside 60 amateurs for three of the four rounds. The final round will consist of professionals only.

The tournament will be played bi-annually, so will return in 2026 and 2028.

Where is it?

The 2024 Dubai Invitational takes place at Dubai Golf & Yacht Club.

When is it?

The inaugural tournament will take place this week, from Thursday (January 11) to Sunday.

How does the format work?

One professional player will be paired with one amateur for the first two rounds, with the team score the aggregate of the lower of the two team members' scores on each hole. For the third round, the leading amateur in the team competition will be paired with the leading professional of the individual professional competition and so on throughout the field.

Who is playing?

The headline act leading the field is four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who will begin his 2024 season at the Dubai Invitational. The world No 2 arrives in the Emirates following a fine 2023, even if a long-awaited fifth major eluded him. The Northern Irishman, 36, collected three individual tournament titles, finished in the top seven of three of the four majors, led Europe to victory in the Ryder Cup, and won his fifth Race to Dubai.

McIlroy will be joined at Dubai Creek by Ryder Cup teammate Tommy Fleetwood, who has also enjoyed plenty of success in the UAE having won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship back-to-back in 2017 and 2018.

Reigning DP World Tour Championship winner Nicolai Hojgaard – another member of Europe's victorious Ryder Cup team in Rome – is also playing, as is his twin brother Rasmus. Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald, former Open champion Francesco Molinari, Poland's Adrian Meronk, and New Zealander Ryan Fox are other notable names in the field.

What is the prize money?

The complete prize fund for the Dubai Invitational is $2.5 million, with the winner of the professional competition earning $425,000. There are 3,000 Race to Dubai points also up for grabs.

How to attend

Tickets for the Dubai Invitational are free and can be obtained by registering in advance online.

What comes next?

The Dubai Invitational is just the start of a prolonged spell of professional golf tournaments in the Middle East. From January 21, the Rolex Series Hero Dubai Desert Classic takes place at Emirates Golf Club, followed by the Ras Al Khaimah Championship (January 28), the Bahrain Championship (February 4), and the Qatar Masters (February 11).

The tour then returns to the UAE at the end of the season for the Abu Dhabi Championship (November 10) and the season-concluding DP World Tour Championship (November 17).

Updated: January 09, 2024, 10:00 AM