Two-time champion Tommy Fleetwood confirmed for Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Prize purse of $8 million for January 21-24 tournament at Abu Dhabi Golf Club

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 16:  Tommy Fleetwood of England and other members of the European tour pose during a photocall for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 16, 2018 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Tommy Fleetwood will return to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship next month.

The European Ryder Cup star, winner in the capital in 2017 and 2018, has been confirmed for the January 21-24 event at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. The tournament, one of four Rolex Series events on the European Tour’s 2021 calendar, kicks off the circuit’s new season.

Fleetwood, 29, joins a host of prominent names competing in the emirate, with Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy – the world No 3 and No 4, respectively – announced last week.

Defending champion Lee Westwood will also return in an attempt to retain the Falcon Trophy he won in January, while Shane Lowry, the 2019 winner, has been confirmed too.

With two victories under his belt already, Fleetwood is seeking to match Martin Kaymer’s record three wins.

The Englishman, the current world No 17, secured the title for the first time three years ago, when he trumped Dustin Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal by a solitary shot. Fleetwood went on to crown his season by winning the Race to Dubai – his first Order of Merit success.

He then went back-to-back in Abu Dhabi the following January, this time emerging victorious by two shots from Ross Fisher. This season, Fleetwood finished joint-runner up around the National Course, a result that helped him eventually rank fourth in the Race to Dubai.

Next month’s tournament promises to excite once more, with four-time major champion McIlroy returning for the first time in three years, while Thomas, the 2017 US PGA Championship winner, makes his Middle East debut. McIlroy has finished runner-up in Abu Dhabi four times, and came home tied-third last time out.

To be staged for the 16th time, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will carry a purse of $8 million, an increase of $1m from this year. It opens the European Tour’s Desert Swing, with the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers running on consecutive weeks after.