The Hero Dubai Desert Classic is the DP World Tour’s pioneering event in the Middle East and for a quarter of a century one player held the distinction of playing in every edition.
From the inaugural edition in 1989 until 2014, Barry Lane was an ever-present enjoying a great association with a tournament that has proved a game-changer for the sport in the region.
Sadly, Lane passed away on New Year’s Eve at the age 62, with figures from across the game paying their tributes. The Englishman made 693 starts on the DP World Tour and is fourth on the Tour’s all-time appearance list, behind only Sam Torrance, Miguel Ángel Jiménez and David Howell.
After finishing sixth at the first edition of the Dubai Desert Classic, Lane registered top-ten finishes in three of his first four appearances at Emirates Golf Club between 1989 to 1993.
Ahead of this week’s 34th edition of the Dubai Desert Classic, the second Rolex Series event of the 2023 DP World Tour season, we remember some of Lane’s stand-out achievements across a distinguished career.
Debut Tour win at Gleneagles
Six years after first joining the Tour, Lane claimed his maiden title in the 1988 Scottish Open at Gleneagles. Aged 28, he finished three strokes ahead of then-Masters champion Sandy Lyle and José Rivero. The victory helped Lane finish 14th in the season-long Order of Merit, now known as the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex.
Denying Seve in the Swiss Alps
The 1993 European Masters might be most remembered for Seve Ballesteros’ miracle recovery shot in the final round, but even the Spaniard was unable to deny Lane victory at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland. The one-shot victory over Ballesteros and Miguel Ángel Jiménez saw Lane claim his third Tour win, helping him secure his qualification for a Ryder Cup debut a few weeks later.
Going up against USA at The Belfry
Lane was one of four rookies in the European Ryder Cup team in 1993 at The Belfry. Under the captaincy of Bernard Gallacher, the hosts were seeking to reclaim the trophy from USA after a 14.15 - 13.5 defeat two years earlier. But despite the presence of Major Champions Nick Faldo, José María Olazábal, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam and Ballesteros, Europe were beaten 15-13.
World Match Play triumph
In 1995, Lane won the first edition of the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf, the precursor to the World Golf Championships Match Play event, now played annually in Austin, Texas. A 2Up victory against South Africa’s David Frost in the final saw Lane win a US$1million first prize.
Returning to the winner’s circle with fifth and final Tour title
After a decade-long wait since winning the Turespaña Open de Baleares in 1994, Lane claimed his fifth Tour win on home soil at the British Masters at the Forest of Arden in 2004. Aged 43 and playing in his 499th DP World Tour event, a final round 66 saw him claim a three-shot victory.
Legends Tour success
After turning 50 in 2010, he went on to enjoy great success on the Legends Tour. He won back-to-back Scottish Senior Opens in 2010 and 2011. He carded the Tour’s lowest ever round, a 12 under par 60, on his way to victory at the Willow Senior Golf Classic in 2017. His eighth and final victory came in the MCB Tour Championship in Madagascar in 2019. Last year, the Legends Tour’s Rookie of the Year award was renamed in Lane’s honour, with the Englishman presenting the award to Brazil’s Adilson Da Silva at the MCB Tour Championship Mauritius in December.