• The Dubai Desert Classic was first played in 1989 and the roll of honour includes six different Major Champions. They are: Seve Ballesteros (1992), Ernie Els (1994, 02, 05), Fred Couples (1995), José Maria Olazábal (1998), Mark O’Meara (2004) and Tiger Woods (2006, 08). Between them they have won 27 Major Championships.
• Rory McIlroy claimed his maiden European Tour title 12 months ago, aged 19 and 273 days, making him the youngest winner of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Should he make a successful defence of his crown, he would be the first player in the event’s history to do so. An added incentive would see McIlroy become the youngest player to successfully defend a European Tour event, aged 20 and 279 days.
• Tom Watson is making his first appearance in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The five-time Open Champion is playing in his first regular European Tour events since the 1993 German Masters, where he finished tied seventh.
• Since 1989 the tournament has seen 17 different winners from 12 different nations.
• To highlight the 21st anniversary of the tournament the field contains nine of the 17 past winners. In total there are six former Major Champions and no fewer than 94 winners of European Tour events competing.
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