Dubai Desert Classic's elevation to Rolex Series 'a great statement' for golf in UAE Filed on September 3, 2021 | Last updated on September 3, 2021 at 12.36 am
Bryson DeChambeau of the US during the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai on January 26, 2020. (AFP file)

The European Tour will now see back-to-back Rolex Series events in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Powered by the new partnership with, the Dubai Desert Classic has just has given a further boost to UAE’s profile as a global sporting hub. With as the new title sponsor, the city’s biggest golf tournament has been elevated to the Rolex Series, the European Tour’s premium category of events, from 2022.

The European Tour will now see back-to-back Rolex Series events in Abu Dhabi (HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship) and Dubai (Dubai Desert Classic).

With a prize fund of $8million, the 2022 edition of the Dubai Desert Classic (January 27-30) is expected to attract the world’s greatest players.

Simon Corkill, the Dubai Desert Classic tournament director, said the new development is a bonus for golf fans in Dubai.

“I think it’s a great statement for golf in Dubai,” Corkill told Khaleej Times during a Zoom interview on Thursday.

“There is a sort of mini-boom in the golf industry globally. But in Dubai, certainly, from a domestic point of view, it’s been very, very buoyant. So having the Slync Dubai Desert Classic as a Rolex Series event is a real bonus for us and for the golf fans in Dubai to have another world-class event right in their backyard.”

Corkill is also excited by the rare opportunity to have the Desert Classic’s Rolex Series debut in the middle of the Expo 2020 Dubai (October 1, 2021-March 31, 2022).

“We are very proud of the part golf has played in the evolution of Dubai. As you have seen, golf has grown and the Dubai Desert Classic has grown with Dubai,” Corkill said.

“The Emirates Golf Club was built in the middle of a desert and it’s now in the central part of the Marina area. So we are always moving forward, which is great from a sporting point of view. The Expo, with so many visitors coming and the tournament, is in the Expo time, so, we hope that side of things, we will get plenty of international visitors coming to see us at the end of January.”

The tournament’s elevation to the Rolex Series is also a great statement for golf in UAE’s golden jubilee year.

“It’s fantastic that this would happen in the 50th year of the UAE. It’s a great statement for the event. It’s the 50th year of the European Tour in 2022 as well, so it’s almost like a double celebration,” Corkill said.

“So it’s amazing that UAE will be celebrating its 50th and we will certainly honour that in the event in January.”

Meanwhile, Chris Kutcher, chairman and CEO of, said the company is proud to be associated with Brand Dubai.

“Dubai stands for innovation, Dubai stands for being progressive for thinking forward, for thinking about the future,” Kutcher told Khaleej Times on Thursday.

“I remember the first time I went to Dubai, I was amazed by the skyline and the way the city was built and the way it has grown. If you see the video you put out for the announcement, the pictures from the early Dubai from the Desert Classic days to the recent ones, you can really see that. So Dubai stands for innovation, growth and building the future. And these are all things that we want to be associated with. I think we share a lot of ambition with the city of Dubai.”

Kutcher said’s partnership would make the Dubai Desert Classic an event to remember in the golf calendar.

“We want to do a lot of things to improve the fan experience, the engagement to improve the player-caddie experience, to improve all aspects, to make this one of the iconic tournaments every single year,” he said.

“That doesn’t happen in a one-year partnership, so this is something that we look forward to working on the next few years and being better every single year.”


Rituraj Borkakoty

A big fan of the Argentina national football team, Rituraj generally writes on sports. But he deeply cherishes the time he spent with his favourite musician from Assam, India, for an interview. And he loves to bring human interest stories to Khaleej Times readers.

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