World number three Rory McIlroy will be hoping to continue his incredible record when he returns to defend his title at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
The Northern Irishman will be making his tenth appearance in the event, which returns to Emirates Golf Club from February 4-7, having won twice, in 2009 and 2015.
The 2009 victory was his first as a professional, at the age of 19 years and 273 days, and he has since gone on to reach extraordinary heights, winning four Major Championships.
Last year his 22 under par 266 total made him the fourth multiple winner of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, joining Ernie Els, Tiger Woods, Stephen Gallacher.
“I have great memories of Dubai and I am really looking forward to getting back to a golf course where I have enjoyed success over the years,” said McIlroy, who made his first cut in a European Tour event as a 17 year old amateur at the 2007 edition.
“It seems every time I come here I play well and give myself some great chances. The Omega Dubai Desert Classic always boasts an outstanding, tough field and the Majlis course is guaranteed to be in really great shape.
“Obviously, I will be looking to get off to a fast start and give myself the best chance of winning the event again.
“To think the tournament is older than I am is testimony to its strength and popularity amongst top pros.”
McIlroy will be joined by MENA Golf Tour patron and 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke, rising English star Matt Fitzpatrick, Henrik Stenson, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer in a strong field for the 27th edition of the event.
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi, said: “We are delighted to welcome back our defending champion whom we have seen grow from an amateur in 2006 to a world-class player. His incredible journey has left indelible footprints in the tournament’s history.
“He is one of golf’s greatest entertainer who brings special energy to the tournament that rubs off well on fans. I wish him the very best.”
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