Omega Dubai Desert Classic Golf Tournament

The European Tour event's winners, history and trivia

Danny Willett of England poses with the trophy after his victory in the 2016 Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Danny Willett poses with the Omega Dubai Desert Classic's impressive trophy after winning the tournament in 2016. Warren Little/Getty Images

he Dubai Desert Classic is part of the European Tour's early season "Gulf Swing," a series of tournaments in the Persian Gulf region. This event is the oldest of those tournaments, first played in 1989. The tournament's organizers (Golf in Dubai) tout it as "the major of the Middle East."

2017 Tournament
Sergio Garcia claimed his first European Tour victory in three years, winning by three strokes over runner-up Henrik Stenson.

Garcia opened the tournament with a 65, and although his scores rose each round they never rose above the 69 he fired in the final round. It was Garcia's 12th career win on the Euro Tour.

2016 Dubai Desert Classic
Danny Willett won by a single stroke by making a clutch birdie putt on the final hole. Willett finished at 19-under 269, one ahead of runners-up Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Andy Sullivan. Sullivan finished with a birdie, and Cabrera-Bello finished birdie-birdie. Those finishes meant that Willett - who began the final round leading by one - needed to birdie his last hole for the victory. And Willett did just that by rolling in a curving 15-footer. It was Willett's fourth career win on the European Tour.

Official Tournament Web site
European Tour tournament site

2015 Tournament
Rory McIlroy won this tournament for the second time, finishing at 22-under 266 to tie the 72-hole scoring record.

McIlroy first won in Dubai in 2009 at age 19, his first pro win on a major tour. This year, McIlroy shot 66-64-66 in the first three rounds so he could cruise to victory in the final round with a 70. Alex Noren was runner-up, and Stephen Gallacher - trying for a three-peat - finished third.

Tournament Records at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic

  • Scoring, 72 holes: 266 - Thomas Bjorn, 2001; Stephen Gallacher, 2013; Rory McIlroy, 2015
  • Scoring, 18 holes: 61 - Ernie Els, 1994
  • Wins: 3 - Ernie Els
  • Margin of victory: 6 shots - Els, 1994
  • Youngest winner: Rory McIlroy, 19 years and 273 days, 2009
  • Oldest winner: Mark O'Meara, 47 and 54 days, 2004

Dubai Desert Classic's Golf Course

The Dubai Desert Classic is played at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai. Emirates GC has been the site of the tournament for all but two years of its history. In 1999-2000, the host site was Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. Emirates GC has two courses; this tournament is played on the club's Majlis Course.

History and Trivia at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic

  • The Dubai Desert Classic has a special place in the history of the Golf Channel network: The 1995 tournament was the first live golf tournament ever broadcast on the Golf Channel.
     
  • Ernie Els is the only 3-time winner in the history of the Dubai Desert Classic.
     
  • Stephen Gallacher is the only golfer to win this tournament in consecutive years (2013-14). In addition to Els and Gallacher, the only other multiple champions here are Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Woods beat Els in a playoff for the title in 2006.
     
  • Rory McIlroy's first European Tour victory (and first professional win on a major tour) was at the 1999 Dubai Desert Classic, when he was 19 years old.
     
  • Mark O'Meara won the championship in 2004 at age 47. It was O'Meara's first official tour win since 1998, and was his last before joining the Champions Tour.
     
  • His victory at the 1994 Dubai Desert Classic launched Ernie Els into world stardom. It was his first victory on the European Tour. He went on to win five times total that year, including the 1994 U.S. Open several months later.
     
  • Mark James won the inaugural tournament in 1989. That year, the Dubai Desert Classic became the first tournament in the European Tour's history to be played in the Middle East - or anywhere else in Asia.
     
  • Miguel Angel Jimenez won the trophy in a playoff in 2010, but he also made two holes-in-one in this tournament ... 18 years apart. Jimenez's first ace here was in the 1990 Dubai Desert Classic. Then he aced against in 2008.

    Winners of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic

    (Changes in the tournament's official name are noted; p-won playoff)

    Omega Dubai Desert Classic
    2017 - Sergio Garcia, 269
    2016 - Danny Willett, 269
    2015 - Rory McIlroy, 266
    2014 - Stephen Gallacher, 272
    2013 - Stephen Gallacher, 266
    2012 - Rafael Cabrera-Bello, 270
    2011 - Alvaro Quiros, 277
    2010 - p-Miguel Angel Jimenez, 277

    Dubai Desert Classic
    2009 - Rory McIlroy, 269
    2008 - Tiger Woods, 274
    2007 - Henrik Stenson, 269
    2006 - p-Tiger Woods, 269
    2005 - Ernie Els, 269
    2004 - Mark O'Meara, 271
    2003 - Robert-Jan Derksen, 271
    2002 - Ernie Els, 272
    2001 - Thomas Bjorn, 266
    2000 - Jose Coceres, 274
    1999 - David Howell, 275
    1998 - Jose Maria Olazabal, 269
    1997 - p-Richard Green, 272
    1996 - Colin Montgomerie, 270
    1995 - Fred Couples, 268
    1994 - Ernie Els, 268
    1993 - Wayne Westner, 274
    1992 - p-Seve Ballesteros, 272

    Emirates Airlines Desert Classic
    1990 - Eamonn Darcy, 276

    Karl Litten Desert Classic
    1989 - p-Mark James, 277