Four-time Major winner Ernie Els has insisted his desire to succeed still burns as strong as ever as he returns to familiar territory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on January 25-28, 2018.
The South African golfing great joins fellow Major champions Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell and European Ryder Cup legends Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood as the latest stars to commit to the longest running European Tour event in the region. They will join a stellar line-up that includes defending champion and 2017 Masters Tournament winner Sergio Garcia and four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy.
Els has fond memories of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, having lifted the trophy a record three times. He is relishing the chance to add to that haul when he returns to Emirates Golf Club, where he shot a course record 61 in 1994 - which still stands - en route to an emphatic six-shot victory and the first of his 28 European Tour titles.
“My hunger for competition is as strong as ever. It’s all about fighting hard to get something going, some momentum rolling. Hopefully, good memories of the Majlis course will come in very handy,” said “the Big Easy”, who is an amazing 184-under par for the 56 rounds he has played since making his debut at the event in 1993.
“I think everyone knows I love playing in Dubai. I like the lines off the tees and the greens are quite soft so if you get your ball up, you can shoot some good scores. I always look forward to coming back and playing in this wonderful tournament.
“Results-wise, the 2017 season may have been a bit disappointing, but the good thing is that I feel like my game has been in better shape than the scores suggested,” said the former World Number One, who boasts 70 professional career victories, including two wins at The Open Championship, two at the U.S. Open, two World Golf Championships and a record seven World Match Play titles.
Tournament director, David Spencer, said: "We are delighted to welcome our only three-time champion back to Dubai. A great friend of Dubai, Ernie is a true ambassador of golf, having won across five continents.
"Attribute it to old school loyalty or the Magic of the Majlis, every golfer feels like they are coming home when they come to Dubai. That is a big reason why we have again assembled a strong field, one that fits perfectly with the tag line of the tournament - Made for Greatness.
“I'm sure the fans are in for a real feast of golf with all the drama and emotions unfolding on the course. I wish everyone in the field the very the best and hope they have a great week.”
Day tickets for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic are priced at Dh 175. A season pass, which provides access all week, is available for Dh 500. Under 16s gain free entry when accompanied by an adult who is holding a valid ticket. Visit www.omegadubaidesertclassic.com