Local Sports

When World Expo 2020 mascots Latifa and Rashid met Europe's top golfers

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on January 21, 2020
DESERT SWING: Tommy Fleetwood plays a shot during the photo-op on Tuesday. - Supplied photo

The duo rub shoulders with the sport's elite at the Majlis Course

A New Year brings with it new beginnings. And this year is a landmark one, so to speak, with Dubai bracing for the World Expo 2020.

As the countdown ticks down for the world's greatest show, with 38 weeks and six days left, or to be more precise - 273 days, Tuesday witnessed a unique union between the Expo and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the oldest golf tournament in the Arabian Peninsula.

Under brilliant sunshine with the postcard Dubai skyline acting as the perfect backdrop, defending champion Bryson DeChambeau, 2017 winer Sergio Garcia, 2017 Race to Dubai Champion Tommy Fleetwood, Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter and amateur Josh Hill met Latifa and Rashid, the official Expo 2020 mascots.

The seven met at the 456-yards par-4 8th hole of the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club to mark the 31st installment of the Desert Classic, which runs from Thursday to Sunday.

The five golfers joined eight-year-old Latifa and her nine-year-old brother Rashid for a photo-op.

As hundred and 37 countries take part in the Expo, a strong and stellar field of 132 golfers, including 16 of the world's top 50 ranked players, 35 of the top 100, nine Major champions with 12 Major titles between them, two former world No.1s, six Race to Dubai winners, 25 Ryder Cup players, 11 former Dubai Desert Classic champions, 34 players who have five or more European Tour victories and 95 of the top 115 on the final 2019 Race to Dubai Rankings, will take to the greens.

And DeChambeau is hoping of a successful title defence of the Dallah Trophy.

"Being with everyone lined up for this photo makes you realise the quality of this event and the strength of the field," said DeChambeau.

"I am excited to be back in Dubai with these great players and look forward to battling to retain the Dallah trophy. In the meantime, it was awesome to meet both Latifa and Rashid, ahead of this year's Expo 2020 in Dubai!" he added.

Meanwhile, Lee Westwood is looking to notch back-to-back wins on the European Tour after triumphing at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

"I think the more you win, the more you get used to getting back to being on an even keel, really," said Westwood, whose Abu Dhabi victory was his 25th on the European Tour.

"A lot of people, if they win early in their career, they struggle to bring themselves back again, but I've won a lot of tournaments and I've won weeks back to back. Obviously, over the years, I've had to really kind of evaluate everything, take it all in, process it, if you call it that - I hate that term - and then get ready for the following week," the 46-year-old added.


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