If you caught a glimpse of the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, this weekend you would have heard rapturous applause and cheers at every birdie sunk, every driver smashed off the tee and every player making their way on to the 18th green.
Fans made a return to the tournament for the first time since 2019 with over 100,000 of them heading to the stunning West Course at Wentworth over the four days, which was a welcome sight to many golf fans across the UAE.
With the season-ending DP World Tour Championship fast approaching many of us are hopeful of making the annual trip to Jumeirah Golf Estates to feast on the top 60 players on the Race to Dubai going to battle over the Earth course after missing out on last year due to the pandemic.
It’s looking likely we’ll be sampling the delights of the tournament village, making our way around the course to catch some of the world’s best and meeting up with friends and family once again after the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing announced last month capacity at sporting events had increased to 60 per cent.
Obviously, a lot could happen between now and the tournament, which is set to start on the November 18, but with daily Covid-19 cases dropping below 1,000 for the first time in 2021 last month and now nearer 500, a return of the galleries at the fourth and final Rolex Series event of the year looks promising.
“Things are looking hopeful for fans returning to the DP World Tour Championship,” said Danny Langston, Jumeirah Golf Estates member. “I’ve already pre-registered for tickets online and I’m eager to get back out there with my mates after missing out last year.
“The tournament has something for everybody and the fact that’s it’s free to enter is a bonus. Hopefully Covid-19 cases keep dropping and they’ll be allowed to welcome even more fans back. In my opinion, it’s the No. 1 sporting event on Dubai’s calendar.”
I was lucky enough to attend last year’s event inside the ‘tournament bubble’ which was a surreal experience. Walking down the fairways without the packed galleries was certainly strange while watching the likes of three-time Race to Dubai champion, Lee Westwood, sink monster putts without fans cheering him on had a sense of eeriness about it.
Fans complete sport. Without them, courses, stadiums and tracks seem lifeless. The pressure may have been off for the last 18 months without them in attendance but even if it does make a sportsman’s job a little easier, they’d be the first to admit that they have been sorely missed.
Pre-registration for tournament tickets is open now with further announcements expected soon.