Fresh from their battle this week to win the DP World Tour Championship, Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy have been confirmed for the 2022 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
The pair, currently ranked world No 2 and No 8 respectively, will tee it up at the tournament’s first run at Yas Links Abu Dhabi, from January 20-23. The event, previously staged at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, represents the first Rolex Series tournament on the DP World Tour’s 2022 schedule. As such, it carries a purse of $8 million.
Morikawa, 24, will debut in Abu Dhabi having only just tasted success in the UAE with victory at the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday. The two-time major winner, the reigning Open champion, secured the European Tour’s season finale in stunning fashion at Jumeirah Golf Estates, prevailing by three shots. With the win, Morikawa became the first American to capture the Race to Dubai.
“I cannot wait to return to the Middle East and play the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the first time,” Morikawa said in a statement on Wednesday. “I have heard great things about the event and it always attracts a world-class field year on year, but I know this year will be extra special at Yas Links for the first time.
“It’s a course which I know is hugely popular among the players from the Pro-Am that has been played there in the past, and I’m excited to start my season as reigning DP World Tour Rankings Champion there.”
McIlroy, meanwhile, led the DP World Tour Championship going into the final round at the Earth Course, but eventually finished in a tie for sixth. The former world No 1, a four-time major champion, has a remarkable record in Abu Dhabi: he has finished third in his past three appearances, and runner-up in four of his previous five attempts.
McIlroy, 32, has another third-placed finish at the event and one other top five in 11 appearances overall.
“I have many happy memories of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and once again look forward to starting my year at this wonderful tournament,” the Northern Irishman said in the same press release. “Yas Links is a spectacular course and is going to provide a new challenge but one all players will enjoy.
“Obviously, I have come close a few times at this event in the past, and I’m hopeful I can be in with a chance of picking up that trophy for the first time come Sunday.”
First staged in 2006, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship has long established itself as one of the premier events on Europe’s lead circuit outside of the majors and the World Golf Championships. Its roll of honour includes three-time winner Martin Kaymer, two-time champions Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood, and the likes of Rickie Fowler, Shane Lowry and Lee Westwood.
England’s Tyrrell Hatton is the defending champion having earlier this year secured a four-shot victory over Australian Jason Scrivener. McIlroy was one stroke further back. It proved to be the final championship played on the National Course.
The Kyle Phillips-designed Yas Links was recently ranked 48th in Golf Digest's Top 100 courses worldwide, with its closing stretch – 16, 17, 18 – expected to provide a fitting finale to the Abu Dhabi event. Last month, organisers said that the Aldar Properties-owned course has undergone a series of extensive improvements, “ensuring the current course conditions are now perfect for the world’s best golfers”.
January’s tournament represents the first of back-to back Rolex Series events in the UAE, with the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic upgraded for the first time. The season-ending DP World Tour Championship means three of the five tournaments in the series, which carry enhanced prize funds and typically boast elite fields, will be staged in the Emirates.