A trip down memory lane: Recollections of Dubai Creek hosting the Dubai Desert Classic in 1999 and 2000

The prestigious tournament moved from its traditional home at the Emirates Golf Club to ‘showcase the skyline and city of Dubai to the world’

By Nick Tarratt, Khaleej Times Guest Golf Writer

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Jose Coceres (second from left back row) with David Howell (seventh from left back row) in the Dubai Desert Classic Champions gallery photo taken at Emirates Golf Club. - Supplied photo
Jose Coceres (second from left back row) with David Howell (seventh from left back row) in the Dubai Desert Classic Champions gallery photo taken at Emirates Golf Club. - Supplied photo

Published: Tue 2 Jan 2024, 10:56 PM

Perhaps not too many Dubai and UAE residents will recall the days when the then-named Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club hosted the Dubai Desert Classic in 1999 and 2000 on the DP World Tour.

A directive by Mohammed Alabbar, the then Chairman of the UAE Golf Association, the organisers of the tournament along with the Dubai World Trade Centre, meant the host venue moved from its traditional home at the Emirates Golf Club to ‘showcase the skyline and city of Dubai to the world’ – and to message globally that Dubai was not just about one golf club in the desert.

England’s David Howell took the title in 1999 in mid-February with a 13 under-par score with rounds of 69, 68, 71 and 67 for a four-shot win from fellow Englishman Lee Westwood. The rough was made very challenging with spotters required on every hole to ‘protect’ the golf course. The total purse was €1,190,000.

The cut fell at two over par with the field including the likes of Justin Rose, Seve Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam, Sir Nick Faldo, Jeev Milkha Singh, and Padraig Harrington all failing to make the cut and Mark James, Paul McGinley, Colin Montgomerie, Wayne Riley, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jose Maria Olazabal, Mark O’Meara, Thomas Bjorn, home Pro and Director of Golf Peter Downie all making it through to the weekend.

The Dubai Creek Resort will host the inaugural edition of the inaugural edition of the Dubai Invitational from January 11 – 14, 2024, - Dubai Creek Resort / Facebook
The Dubai Creek Resort will host the inaugural edition of the inaugural edition of the Dubai Invitational from January 11 – 14, 2024, - Dubai Creek Resort / Facebook

In 2000, Jose Caceres (Arg) took the title in the tournament held in the first week of March.

Coceres finished on 14 under par, with rounds of 64, 69, 68 and 73, famously visiting water twice on his 72nd hole resulting in a double bogey six to win by a shot from Patrick Sjoland and Paul McGinley.

In 1999 the golf course measured 6,845 yards and 11 yards longer the year after.

With the EGD re-design with support from Thomas Bjorn, it has been stretched to 7,200 yards in 2024 to acknowledge the apparent demand for longer golf courses.

We look forward to seeing how the modern golfer on the DP World Tour performs next week at the Dubai Invitational.


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