Tommy Fleetwood Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: European Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood has confirmed he will play in the 30th edition of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic (ODDC) at Emirates Golf Club from January 24-27, reinforcing its status as the ‘Major of the Middle East’.

The 2017 Race to Dubai champion, who just missed out to Francesco Molinari for the title this year, will be joined by fellow Ryder Cup stars, past and present. Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter, Tyrrell Hatton, Thorbjorn Olesen, Thomas Bjorn, Lee Westwood, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Colin Montgomerie will be in the star-studded field as the world’s best compete for the famous Dallah Trophy.

Last year’s ODDC winner Sergio Garcia became the most successful Ryder Cup player in history when he topped the all-time highest points scorers chart in Paris in September. He was also the second ODDC winner to go on to win The Masters in the same year after Danny Willett accomplished the same in 2016. In an eerie twist of fate, both Garcia and Willett’s caddies were assigned the No. 89, which so happens to be the year the ODDC started.

Defending champion Haotong Li will be back to attempt back-to-back wins. The 23-year-old from China became the first Asian golfer to win the event this year when he beat four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy by a stroke.

This year’s European Tour Rookie of the Year Shubhankar Sharma is also confirmed to play alongside UAE-based amateur Rayhan Thomas and Jovan Rebula, who is the British amateur champion and a nephew of the ODDC’s record three-time winner Ernie Els.

Current No. 1 in the Race to Dubai rankings, Aaron Rai, will have his sights on the Dallah Trophy along with Rafa Cabrera Bello, Louis Oosthuizen, Eddie Pepperell, Matt Fitzpatrick, Matt Wallace and Andy Sullivan.

Tournament director David Spencer said: “We are looking forward to ensuring that our 30th edition continues to enhance Dubai’s growing reputation as a world-class golfing destination. The players love our tournament because they get to spend time in our dynamic and vibrant city. No doubt when the winner’s name is etched on our Dallah trophy in 2019, the tradition of greatness will continue.”

Spectators will be able to enjoy a range of new additions for the tournament’s 30th edition, including a brand new viewing platform on the 18th green, a new spectator area on the 15th hole and a redesigned tournament village.

Since 1989, the tournament has seen 24 different winners, including nine Major champions and 13 different nationalities.

A four-day season-ticket costs Dh250. For information, tickets and hospitality, visit www.omegadubaidesertclassic.com