McIlroy and Fleetwood excited to be part of $2.5m Dubai Invitational

The DP World Tour event at the Dubai Creek Resort launches a 45-tournament in the 2024 season

By Nick Tarratt, Khaleej Times Guest Golf Writer

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Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald teeing off during a practice round of the Dubai Invitational at Dubai Creek Resort. - Supplied photo
Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald teeing off during a practice round of the Dubai Invitational at Dubai Creek Resort. - Supplied photo

Published: Wed 10 Jan 2024, 8:56 PM

The DP World Tour resumes its 2023 - 2024 season with the first event of a five-week stretch in the Middle East as the inaugural Dubai Invitational at Dubai Creek Resort marks the start of the talent-rich International Swing.

The Dubai Invitational is a four-day event which sees a 72-hole strokeplay tournament played concurrently with a three-day Pro-Am team event, with 60 pros and 60 amateurs rubbing shoulders over the picturesque 7,059 yards beaty that hugs the Emirate’s iconic creek.

On Sunday, only the professionals will battle for glory.

There are also 3,000 Race to Dubai points on offer to the professional field, in this the seventh week of a 45-tournament season, with pros competing for a $2.5 million prize fund with the winner earning $425,000.

The team competition will be played in pairs comprising one amateur and one professional, with the team score, the aggregate of the lower of the two team members score on each hole over three rounds, counting.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is one of many stars who will compete in the inaugural Dubai Invitational at the Dubai Creek Resort this week. - - AP File
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is one of many stars who will compete in the inaugural Dubai Invitational at the Dubai Creek Resort this week. - - AP File

For the third round, the leading amateur in the team competition will be paired with the leading professional of the individual professional competition and so on.

World number two Rory McIlroy, one of several stars in action, said: “This is a different way to start the season than previous ones. Obviously, we played Abu Dhabi and then Dubai.

“Abu Dhabi is now at the end of the year, which is exciting, because another big tournament at the end of the season could decide the season-long race.

“This is a nice, maybe gentler introduction back into golf with this Pro-Am format this week at the Creek, and then obviously looking ahead to the Hero Dubai Desert Classic next week also,” the Northern Irishman added.

“I just thought it was a good opportunity to get on the golf course, get a card in my hand but in a more relaxed setting, so I'm excited for the week.”

Dubai resident Tommy Fleetwood is hoping he can discover ‘that missing piece’ as he looks to kickstart his 2024 campaign on the DP World Tour with a victory this week.

The Englishman finished eighth on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex last season, closing out the year with a runner-up finish at the DP World Tour Championship over the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

With the chance to add to his six DP World Tour titles this week, it is no surprise he arrives for the first of back-to-back events in the United Arab Emirates with optimism for the year ahead.

“I played really well last year, particularly from like early summer onwards, late spring. I think my consistency levels were great,” he said.

“But, overall in terms of the depths of my performances throughout the year, I was very, very pleased, and thrilled to finish the World Ranking (at the end of last year) in a high place again, knocking on the door of that top 10.

“Abdullah (Tournament host Abdulla Al Naboodah) has put so much effort into this and brought another event into the Middle East and the Creek, where we've not played a tournament at for a very long time,” Fleetwood continued. “I've never played a tournament here, that's for sure.”

The first tee time is at 8.30 am with play starting off two tees. The final tee time of the day is at 11.09 am.


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