World No 1 Rory McIlroy has been confirmed for next year’s Dubai Desert Classic, with organisers also announcing on Tuesday that the tournament will offer free general admission.
McIlroy, a four-time major champion and twice winner of the Desert Classic, will headline the field for the January 26-29 event at Emirates Golf Club. The Desert Classic forms part of the DP World Tour’s elevated, five-tournament Rolex Series and thus offers a $9 million purse.
McIlroy, who last month returned to top of the world golf rankings when he opened his 2022-23 PGA Tour season with victory at the CJ Cup, will be bidding for a record-equalling third Dallah trophy. He secured his first European Tour win at the 2009 Desert Classic before clinching the title again in 2015.
Earlier this year, McIlroy let slip the chance of another success on the Majlis course when, while chasing a birdie to prevail, he bogeyed the final hole to eventual place third.
In a statement released on Tuesday, McIlroy said: “I always look forward to playing the Dubai Desert Classic, having won the tournament twice in my career, and [the] Majlis is a golf course that I love to play.
“Lifting the Dallah trophy for a third time is something I would like to achieve.”
Alongside the two victories, McIlroy has seven other top-10 finishes in his past nine appearances at the Desert Classic. This month, the Northern Irishman will attempt to claim a fourth Race to Dubai crown, and first in seven years, when he enters DP World Tour’s season-ending event at the summit of the standings.
Simon Corkill, executive tournament director of Desert Classic, said in Tuesday’s release: “Since the first ball teed off more than three decades ago in 1989, the Dubai Desert Classic has gone from strength to strength, attracting a wide array of top golfers from around the world, so to have Rory McIlroy confirm his participation exemplifies how highly regarded the tournament is.
“He is one of the greatest names not just in golf, but also in sport in general and we are delighted that he will be returning to Emirates Golf Club again. This is a fantastic opportunity for fans to see the world No 1 in action on the Majlis course, a place he knows very well, in what will be another important year for him.
“With more household names and up-and-coming players set to join over the coming weeks, fans can be assured of a stellar playing field for January 2023.”
General admission to next year’s Desert Classic will be free, with early bird hospitality tickets available until December 4.