The 2021 desert swing is upon us!
Invited fans and TV fans are in for a treat with the quality of players at all three events.
After a short break of just 39 days since Matt Fitzpatrick won the 2020 DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, at Jumeirah Golf Estates, the European Tour and the stars of world golf are back in the UAE and the region with the start of the 2021 season from Thursday until Sunday at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
This will be followed by the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club (January 28 – 31) and the Desert Swing is completed by the Saudi International powered by Softbank Investment Advisers (February 4 – 7) at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.
Invited fans and TV fans are in for a treat with the quality of players at all three events with the players competing for a three week share of an accumulated prize money of $14.75 million.
Sadly, it seems crowds are restricted to invited guests only, so the TV channels and host broadcasters are now the favourite places for most to be tuning in for the upcoming action.
To begin with in Abu Dhabi, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy highlight a strong field in this first ROLEX Series event of 2021, boasting a prizefund of $8 million with plenty of Ryder Cup Points as well as qualification points for golf at the 2021 the Olympics on offer.
Credit must go to all tournaments, promoter partners and sponsors to have five of the first six events on the 2021 International Schedule in the Middle East region.
The only exception is the WGC at The Concession, which with Covid-19 challenges, has just been moved from Mexico to Florida and is being hosted at The Concession (February 25 – 28) with a whopping $10.5 million prizefund.
Prizefunds for the Desert Swing events following Abu Dhabi are at $3.25 million and $3.5 million for Dubai and Saudi respectively.
With Covid-19 so prevalent and restrictive for so many activities around the world in so many countries, yet alone the allowing of playing of golf and the organizing golf tournaments, all the promoters and organisers of all three of these Middle East Swing events should be rightly proud of their entry lists.
Credit also must go to all the players for their confidence in both travelling and coming to the Middle East region.
Fingers crossed it is not long before the Covid-19 Vaccine and the reduction in Covid-19 cases everywhere, enables us to all return to a new normal and the gates of tournament golf can be opened up once again to the fans.
Sport and golf are suffering with no fans, visually, emotionally, financially etc etc.
The Middle East have been among the pioneers around the world with Covid-19 actions.
Fingers crossed all players, caddies, officials and all will arrive safely, enjoy their time in the ‘Tournament Bubbles’ and leave safely with no incidents or dramas.
At the Omega Dubai Desert Classic Colin Morikawa leads the field along with Europe’s finest with so many of the players playing all three weeks, but some only two weeks and some only one.
It is their own personal preference choice, subject, of course to qualification, and for the top players primarily dependent on their long seasons ahead.
OWGR Ranking points are also relevant to many of the players’ schedules, as are Race to Dubai Points, but we will now leave those to the mathematicians and number gurus and can be looked at later in the year.
Saudi has a particularly strong international field including: Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson Dechambeau, Patrick Reed and defending champion Graeme McDowell. For all details of all current entries visit www.europeantour.com
Good luck to all players and all the tournaments for a safe, fun and enjoyable three week in in the Middle East.
We will all be watching!
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