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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 16 January 2021

Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Collin Morikawa among star names confirmed for Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Lucas Herbert will look to retain his title during the January 28-31 event at Emirates Golf Club

Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Collin Morikawa are among the players confirmed for next month’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

The trio was announced on Thursday alongside Sergio Garcia and Tyrrell Hatton to tee it up at the January 28-31 event at Emirates Golf Club. Rose, the 2013 US Open winner, returns for the first time since 2009, while defending champion Lucas Herbert has also been confirmed as he looks to retain the title he won earlier this year.

With the first batch of participants in the books, it means the 32nd edition of the tournament already includes two of the world’s current top 10 – No 7 Morikawa and No 10 Hatton – and three major champions.

One of the brightest prospects in golf, Morikawa capped his first full season as a professional by breaking through at a major, sealing the US PGA Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco in August.

The 23-year-old made his Middle East debut last week at the DP World Tour Championship, recording a top-10 finish to eventually rank fifth on the Race to Dubai.

Contesting a first Desert Classic, Morikawa is keen to etch his name on a Dallah Trophy that features Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau and Garcia, among others.

“When you look back at some of the players who have won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, you realise that it is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world,” the American said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to trying to add my name to the roll of honour.

“I’ve been told that the Majlis course is a fantastic setting and I can’t wait to get there and see it for myself. This year has been a memorable one for me on the golf course and I’m excited to see what 2021 has in store.”

Garcia, meanwhile, landed the Desert Classic title in 2017 before going on to capture the Masters at Augusta two months later – finally breaking his major duck.

“I love coming to Dubai and obviously having won there I have great memories to look back on,” said the Spaniard, who stands too as the leading points-scorer in Ryder Cup history. “It’s one of my favourite events – the course is always presented beautifully and is a fair test.

“I’m proud to be a part of the tournament’s rich history and would love to create a little bit more by becoming a two-time winner.”

Fleetwood, though, is sure to represent a serious threat to those ambitions. The Englishman, another Ryder Cup star, has tasted success in Abu Dhabi twice already, while in 2017 he was crowned Race to Dubai champion for the first time.

An ever-present at the Desert Classic since 2012, his best finish around the Majlis is tied-sixth, two years ago.

“I always look forward to starting my season in the Middle East, and Dubai with its history is a popular tournament in that swing,” Fleetwood said. “There are so many great winners of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and I would love to be one of them one day.”

In line with international Covid-19 protocols, the tournament, the longest-running event on the schedule outside Europe, will take place within a safe bio-secure environment. Attendance is for invited guests only.

Updated: December 17, 2020 03:13 PM

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