Ryder Cup-winning captain Luke Donald joins host of big names set to tee off in Hero Dubai Desert Classic

Major champions Padráig Harrington, Francesco Molinari and Adam Scott and Rolex Series winner Ryan Fox all return to Emirates Golf Club

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Europe's Team Captain Luke Donald celebrates winning the 2023 Ryder Cup. - AP
Europe's Team Captain Luke Donald celebrates winning the 2023 Ryder Cup. - AP

Published: Fri 29 Dec 2023, 3:54 PM

European Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald, Rolex Series winner Ryan Fox and Major Champions Padráig Harrington, Francesco Molinari and Adam Scott are all set to star at the 35th anniversary edition of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

They will join an exciting field at the iconic Emirates Golf Club from January 18-21 that includes defending champion and World Number Two Rory McIlroy, reigning Open Champion Brian Harman, European Ryder Cup heroes Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton and rising PGA TOUR star Cameron Young.

Former World Number One Donald, who Captained Team Europe to a 16½ - 11½ victory against the United States in the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome, was recently announced as Europe’s first repeat Captain since Bernard Gallacher performed the role in 1991, 1993 and 1995.

He will lead Europe once again at the 2025 Ryder Cup in New York, but before then, he is looking forward to starting his season with back-to-back weeks in Dubai, including just his second appearance at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

Donald said: “I’m pleased to be able to add the Hero Dubai Desert Classic to my schedule for the second successive season. I enjoyed the experience at the start of 2023, so I know coming straight back will be a great way to get my 2024 season started.

“Dubai is such an iconic place for the DP World Tour, so I’m looking forward to starting my season with two weeks in a row, at the new Dubai Invitational and then at Emirates Golf Club for the first Rolex Series event of the season.”

Francesco Molinari of Italy. - AFP File
Francesco Molinari of Italy. - AFP File

After helping Donald’s side to victory in his home country as one of Team Europe’s Vice Captains in Rome, 2018 Open Champion Francesco Molinari will return for his 10th appearance at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

Italy’s first male Major Champion previously formed one half of the famous ‘Moliwood’ pairing during the 2018 European Ryder Cup victory, and the six-time DP World Tour winner will reunite with partner Fleetwood over the Majlis Course in January.

Continuing the Ryder Cup connection, Europe’s 2021 Captain and multiple Major champion Harrington is set to add further star power to the field.

The 15-time DP World Tour winner has taken the PGA TOUR Champions by storm in recent years, winning six times since January 2022, including adding the U.S. Senior Open to his collection of Major titles.

Padraig Harrington of Ireland. - AFP File
Padraig Harrington of Ireland. - AFP File

Harrington has an impressive record at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, with three top tens over his 11 previous appearances, including a second place finish in 2001.

Fellow Major champion Scott is also looking forward to starting his season in Dubai. The former World Number One, who became the first Australian Masters Tournament winner when he claimed the Green Jacket in 2013, is no stranger to success in the Middle East.

The 11-time DP World Tour winner has claimed titles all over the world, counting wins in Qatar in 2002 and 2008 on a CV that includes victories in his native Australia, Asia, South Africa and most recently the 2020 Genesis Invitational on the PGA TOUR.

New Zealander Fox secured his biggest career victory to date at the 2023 BMW PGA Championship after posting a five under par round of 67 on Sunday to lift the famous trophy at Wentworth Club in England to secure his first Rolex Series title.

New Zealand's Ryan Fox poses with the trophy after winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.- AFP File
New Zealand's Ryan Fox poses with the trophy after winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.- AFP File

The four-time DP World Tour winner previously claimed the Seve Ballesteros Award for Players’ Player of the Year after an impressive 2022 season - including victory in the UAE at the 2022 Ras al Khaimah Classic - and was presented with his trophy by one of Seve’s sons Javier and his daughter Carmen at the 2023 edition of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

Simon Corkill, Executive Tournament Director of Hero Dubai Desert Classic, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be announcing more star names to our line-up for the 2024 Hero Dubai Desert Classic. The additions of triumphant Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald, Major champions Padráig Harrington, Francesco Molinari and Adam Scott, as well as Rolex Series winner Ryan Fox, certainly makes the field more competitive in this 35th edition of the tournament and we cannot wait to see them tee off at the Emirates Golf Club in January.

“With many top stars confirming their attendance, this is a fantastic opportunity for people to see the players up close while enjoying a wide array of entertainment off the course in what will be a memorable event.”

The Hero Dubai Desert Classic will be celebrating its 35th anniversary and its recent official certification as the first Geo-Certified event in the Middle East, and the first in the DP World Tour’s Rolex Series. GEO Certification is an industry leading credibility standard that recognises leadership and action in environmental and social responsibility.

Beyond the greens

This year’s event combines world-class golf with a huge array of family-friendly entertainment. Spectators can look forward to a wider variety of options off the course than ever before with something for fans of all ages to enjoy across the tournament.

For more information and for free general admission tickets to the HDDC, please visit www.dubaidesertclassic.com, and download the Hero Dubai Desert Classic app available on App Store or Google Play.

Organisers are also encouraging fans to use the Metro service to travel to and from the tournament, with Al Khail station located directly outside the club’s main entrance

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