The Race to Dubai is in the final stretch and with The European Tour’s top players in town, the Rolex Pro-Am on Tuesday will tee up the start of the 2012 DP World Tour Championship on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
The Rolex Pro-Am is not only a memorable day for all the amateurs who get the chance to play alongside the best players on The European Tour but also a historic one for Arab golf.
The UAE’s Ahmed Al Musharrekh – the first pro golfer to hail from the emirates – will line up as the professional leading a team from the Emirates Golf Federation and he faces some formidable opposition as he plays from the Championship tees.
Already confirmed as the 2012 Race to Dubai Champion, World Number One Rory McIlroy will round off the best year of his career so far as he tries to follow in the footsteps of previous DP World Tour Championship winners Lee Westwood, Robert Karlsson and Alvaro Quiros.
Joining Rory are his 11 team-mates from the ‘Miracle at Medinah’, the European stars whose names will forever be associated with the greatest Ryder Cup comeback on foreign soil, while Major winners Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel will lead the South African charge.
At both ends of the age scale, these are exciting times for Miguel Angel Jimenez and Matteo Manassero – the evergreen 48 year-old Spaniard arrives in Dubai fresh from becoming the oldest winner on The European Tour with his third title at the UBS Hong Kong Open, while Italian teenager Manassero followed up his victory at the Barclay’s Singapore Open with joint fourth in Hong Kong.
It’s a formidable line-up of stars for the fourth staging of a tournament that has now underlined the Earth course and Jumeirah Golf Estates as the ultimate destination on The Race to Dubai – and with three of the top four players in the Official World Golf Ranking the field is as strong as ever.
Last year’s Race to Dubai champion Luke Donald may have relinquished his title to McIlroy but the Englishman is also in fine form and arrives in Dubai just days after his first victory on the Japan Tour.
But before the opening round here at the Greg Norman-designed Earth course on Thursday (22 November), the Rolex Pro-Am will see 44 teams compete with two shotgun starts at 7.00am and 12.30pm in the ‘Par is your Friend’ format.
Among the teams and players to watch out for in the morning session; Rory McIlroy and DP World 1; 2010 Race to Dubai winner Martin Kaymer and Rolex 1; and former Open Champion Paul Lawrie with the Jumeirah Golf Estates 1 team. In the afternoon, 2011 Race to Dubai Champion Luke Donald will lead the Rolex 4 team, while Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ian Poulter will captain Emirates 4 and DP World 5 respectively.
Last year, the Rolex Pro-Am bragging rights went to the Emirates 3 team led by Sergio Garcia… but who’ll be flying high in 2012?
Free season tickets for the 2012 DP World Tour Championship are available online by registering at the official website www.dpwtc.com.