Dubai might be a long way from the Eternal City, but the spirit within the European Ryder Cup team is a feature of this week’s DP World Tour Championship.
Ten members of Luke Donald’s victorious team from Rome are in the 50-strong field for the season-ending event at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
For several, this week’s fifth and final Rolex Series event marks their return to competitive action for the first time since that memorable week at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.
Following Friday’s second round, all ten playing members reunited for a dinner at the official players’ hotel, Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah.
Reflecting on the evening, Matt Fitzpatrick said the gathering, while not uncommon, was testament to the togetherness within the European set-up.
“It was great to see everyone, a couple (Ludvig Åberg and Justin Rose) were missing but it was nice to catch up,” the Major Champion said.
“It definitely shows what Team Europe is about, really, that is the big thing.
“It is not really out of the ordinary that gets done year-round let alone after playing the Ryder Cup together. It definitely shows what the [camaraderie] is like.”
While Fitzpatrick was making his third appearance in golf’s greatest team event, Sepp Straka was one of the four Ryder Cup rookies in the European fold.
Like Fitzpatrick, the Austrian delivered a point to help Europe beat the U.S. Team 16½-11½ to regain the Ryder Cup trophy.
Straka is playing for the first time in seven weeks and has enjoyed the opportunity to reminisce about what the team achieved together in Italy.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “All week, seeing everybody for the first time since the Ryder Cup, it has been fun rehashing some stories and talking about all the fun stuff that happened that week and we got to do a bit more of that last night.”
Straka described 2023 as a “dream” earlier in the week, with the Ryder Cup following on from his best-ever performances at Majors and a second PGA TOUR title.
The 30-year-old admits the friendships formed in Rome will be long-lasting as he spoke about the feel-good factor that has carried through to the 45th and final event of the DP World Tour campaign.
“I don’t know how it is every other year, but the group chat has been consistent since Rome,” he added.
“It obviously makes it that much more fun to win but we all kind of bonded and that carried into this week.”
Four members of the European Ryder Cup team are in the top ten on the leaderboard in Dubai ahead of the final round.