The Omega Dubai Desert Classic was born in 1989 when the European Tour visited the Middle East for the first time.
The roll of honour includes 10 different Major Champions. They are: Seve Ballesteros (1992), Ernie Els (1994, 02, 05), Fred Couples (1995), José Maria Olazábal (1998), Mark O'Meara (2004), Tiger Woods (2006, 08), Rory McIlroy (2009, 15), Henrik Stenson (2007), Danny Willett (2016) and Sergio Garcia (2017). Between them they have won 35 Major Championships.
Promoted and organized by Golf in Dubai, the tournament is fondly referred to as the ‘Major of the Middle East,’ because of its longevity and a world-class field that it attracts every year.
Since 1989, the tournament has seen 23 different winners from 12 different nations. The 28th edition of the tournament in 2017, won by Spain’s Sergio Garcia, boasted truly a ‘Classic field’ that comprised 84 European Tour winners, nine Major champions with combined 24 wins, three former world number ones, — Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer — 27 Ryder Cup players and 11 former Omega Dubai Desert Classic champions.
The tournament week recorded a healthy attendance of 44,015, which was well over the last year's figure (43,502).
Ernie Els (1994, 2002, 05), Rory McIlroy (2009, 15), Tiger Woods (2006, 2008) and Stephen Gallacher (2013, 2014) are the only players who have recorded multiple victories in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
South African great Els has played 15 times on the Majlis course. In that time he has recorded three victories, nine top threes. Of his 56 rounds on the Majlis course he is a total of 184 under par. Els set the current course record of 61 (-11) on the opening day in 1994, which contained a European Tour record of 12 birdies in a single round. He has broken par in 44 of his 52 rounds.
Rory McIlroy is now 96 under par for his last seven appearances on the Majlis course that have yielded a first in 2009, sixth in 2010, tenth in 2011, fifth in 2012, ninth in 2014, first in 2015 and sixth in 2016.
At 19 years and 273 days, McIlroy became the youngest winner of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic 2009, beating the previous record of England's David Howell, who had won the 1999 edition when he was 23 years and 236 days old.
Since making his first visit to Dubai in 2001, Woods has won the tournament twice. He is 87-under-par for the 29 rounds that he has played on the Majlis course. The former world number one was forced to pull out in 2017 because of a back problem just before the start of his second round.