Dubai: British veteran Lee Westwood, who finished 2020 as the European No.1 in Race to Dubai, will want to carry on from where he had left off as he returns to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club from January 28 – 31.
Joining the English pair Westwood and and the Race to Dubai runner-up Matthew Fitzpatrick will be their illustrious compatriots Ian Poulter and Paul Casey, who boast 26 European Tour titles between them, former Desert Classic winner Rafa Cabrera Bello and multiple European Tour winners Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Matt Wallace, runners-up at the Desert Classic in 2020 and 2019, respectively.
Fresh from a spectacular end to 2020, with Fitzpatrick winning the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai and Westwood finishing second to top the Race to Dubai Rankings, the pair are looking forward to a date with the Majlis to kickstart the new year.
Westwood has been a runner-up at the Desert Classic on three occasions in 1999, 2010 and 2012 and is keen to add more success in Dubai later this month having previously won the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai in 2009.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing the Dubai Desert Classic and if you look at my results here historically, you could say the course suits me,” said Westwood, who has 25 wins to his name on the European Tour.
“I first played this event in 1994 and the changes and growth of Dubai since then has been quite staggering. There are a lot of good holes – the 8th is spectacular, teeing off towards the skyscrapers, and the 18th especially is a great finishing hole. This is a title I’d love to win having come close in the past.”
Fitzpatrick will make his seventh consecutive appearance in the event, dating back to his rookie season of 2015, during which he won the first of his six European Tour titles at the British Masters.
“This is one of the iconic venues on the European Tour and it’s an event I look forward to every year when I begin my season in the Middle East,” said Fitzpatrick, who in 2018 at the age of 24 became the youngest Englishman to reach five wins on the European Tour with victory at the Omega European Masters, surpassing the record previously held by Sir Nick Faldo.
Casey, meanwhile, will be making his first start in the Desert Classic since 2014 and has never missed the cut in seven previous starts, with a share of fourth place in 2009 -representing his best result thanks to four consecutive rounds of 68.
Poulter, a 12-times European Tour winner, has teed it up on the Majlis for the last four editions and will be making his 11th career start in the event - having made his debut back in 2001.
“I love coming to Dubai as it’s the perfect environment to start the season,” said Poulter. “I’ve played well here over the last few years with two top-10s and I’m keen to try and improve on that and take home some silverware this time. The Majlis is a course that I feel comfortable on and I can’t wait to get started in a few weeks’ time.”
Attendance at the event is for invited guests only but the action will be beamed to a worldwide audience on mainstream broadcast sports networks and highlights and exclusive content will be shared on the Omega Dubai Desert Classic social media channels.