When the Omega Dubai Desert Classic turns 25 early next year, celebratory echoes will resonate throughout the golfing world in a fitting tribute to the vision of a man who has guided most of the projects that have transformed Dubai's international image over the past few decades.
It was His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who first came up with the idea of building a golf course in the middle of desert and that led directly to the birth of the ‘Classic’, as it is known locally, in 1989.
Since then the tournament, now the longest-running European Tour event in Asia and the MENA region, has conjured up some of golf’s most celebrated moments at the iconic Emirates Golf Club and has helped shape the careers of many golfers – including World Number Two Rory McIlroy, who recorded his professional win here in 2009.
“A jewel in the desert,” as George O’Grady, the Chief Executive of The European Tour, calls it, the 25th edition of the tournament will be held at Emirates Golf Club from January 27 to February 2, 2014.
Headlining arguably the strongest Omega Dubai Desert Classic field in its illustrious history will be a plethora of past champions, along with a host of The European Tour’s elite golfers at the US$2.5 million event, promoted and organised by golf in DUBAi.
Invitations have been extended to all former champions, and a number of special events are being planned to mark the landmark occasion. Included in the field will be 2013 champion, Stephen Gallacher, who will seek to become the first player to successfully defend his title.
“As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, we owe a debt of gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for developing world-class sporting facilities. Many sports have benefitted immensely from Dubai’s vision, creativity and expertise, and golf is one of them,” said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi.
“The city’s meteoric emergence is amply reflected in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, which has played a key role in the phenomenal growth of golf in the region. I would like to acknowledge and thank our sponsors, especially title sponsor Omega and sponsor DUBAL, the players and The European Tour for their continued support in achieving this milestone.”
‘golf in DUBAi’ is backed by Omega as the title sponsor, and Dubal (Dubai Aluminium) as the sponsor. The co-sponsors are: CNN, Drydocks World & Maritime World, Emirates NBD, Gulf News, Jumeirah, Mercedes-Benz and wasl, while Dubai Duty Free, Carpetland and Motivate are patrons.