Rory McIlroy is the man to beat in the desert



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Rory McIlroy is the man to beat in the desert

The DP World Tour remains in the United Arab Emirates for the Dubai Desert Classic, the second consecutive event in the Rolex Series after last weekend's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championsip. As always, the new year's calendar immediately offers two of the most important tournaments and certainly with the highest prize pools of the entire season.

Last year, Viktor Hovland triumphed here on the Emirates Golf Course. The Norwegian will not be present this week and therefore will not defend his title.

Rory McIlory, schedule

Despite Hovland's absence, the quality of the Desert Classic field will be of great depth: obviously the name of Rory McIlroy stands out above all, number 1 in the world rankings and two-time winner of this tournament.

The main challengers from the Northern Irishman will be Shane Lowry, last week's winner Victor Perez, as well as Thomas Pieters, without forgetting the large English platoon which also features big names such as Tyrrel Hatton, Lee Westwood, Tommy Fleetwood and Richard Bland.

As for the Italians, there will be only three at the start, but with important credentials: Francesco Molinari comes from the excellent fifth place of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, in which Guido Migliozzi and Edoardo Molinari also finished in the top20.

For the first two mentioned it is also important to try to take advantage of this moment of form to put hay in the farmhouse with a view to being called up to the Ryder Cup team. The Emirates Golf Club course is a par 72 of 7,353 yards.

The challenges brought by the first grass course in the Middle East, opened in 1988, are not to be underestimated: water comes into play in over half of the holes, the rough is quite high, requiring great precision from the tee, and as in many of the courses in the desert, the wind risks playing a decisive part, even considering the many changes of direction of the holes.

Rory McIlroy (Holywood, Northern Ireland, May 4, 1989) is a Northern Irish professional golfer. He is number 1 in the world rankings for 95 weeks and has been in the top ten for more than 300 weeks. This golfer has won many major tournament victories: the 2011 US Open, the 2014 British Open, and the 2012 and 2014 PGA Championship.

He also came third at the 2010 and 2022 British Open and the the PGA of 2009 and 2010. Meanwhile, McIlroy won the 2014 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the 2015 WGC Match Play, the 2015 Dubai World Championship, the 2016, 2019 and 2022 Tour Championship and the 2016, 2019 and 2022 Fed Ex Cup.

second in the 2012 WGC Match Play, third in the 2012 WGC-Cadillac Championship, and fourth in the 2009 and 2011 WGC-HSBC Champions.