OlyBet’s official betting partner in Europe, The DP World Tour, is set to kick off its 2024 season with a dazzling five-week stretch in the Middle East, and at the forefront of this golfing extravaganza is the inaugural Dubai Invitational, running from January 11th to 14th. Here are the key highlights of this exciting and promising event.
But first… What’s new?
The 2023-24 DP World Tour will see a variety of changes to its season. The season has now been divided into three distinct phases, which include five innovative ‘Global Swings’ from November 2023 to August 2024, the ‘Back 9’ phase from November 2023 to August 2024, and the DP World Tour play-off phase in November 2024.
The Global Swings phase consists of five individual Swings – the Opening Swing, the International Swing, the Asian Swing, the European Swing and the Closing Swing, each with its own individual Swing Rankings.
Currently, we are in the International Swing, which runs from January (Dubai Invitational) to March, concluding with the Jonsson Workwear Open.
Format and participants
Now, let’s learn more about the Dubai Invitational structure. The tournament will be played biennially, meaning that we will be allowed to enjoy this spectacle only every other year. The tournament introduces a fresh 72-hole strokeplay format featuring 60 professional golf players. In a unique twist, 60 amateurs will join them to participate in a concurrent three-day team Pro-Am event, with Sunday exclusively reserved for the pros.
Dubai Invitational showcases a star-studded field with Rory McIlroy (of course) leading the charge. The golfing maestro is ranked 2nd in the Official World Golf Ranking and will return to action after skipping The Sentry (the calendar-year opening tournament of golf’s PGA Tour season) with a clear aim – to make a statement in the first of three consecutive events in the United Arab Emirates. He will be accompanied by several of his Ryder Cup-winning teammates, such as Tommy Fleetwood, Nicolai Højgaard, and captain Luke Donald. Ryan Fox, Adrian Meronk, and Francesco Molinari are among the other star attractions.
Something for the mortals
Meanwhile, it is expected that the Pro-Am team event will add an extra layer of excitement, fostering camaraderie between amateur and professional players. In short, each amateur is tasked with captaining a team and has the option to either partner with the same professional for the initial two rounds or make a change after the first day. The top amateur in the team competition will then join forces with the leading professional for Saturday’s play.
During the third round, amateurs will be paired with professionals occupying the corresponding positions on the leaderboards. The cumulative score of the lowest team member on each hole over three rounds will determine the outcome. The triumphant amateur team will be the one with the lowest total over the 54 holes.
Prize and points
Despite a purse of $2.5 million, which is just one-tenth of some other high-profile events, the Dubai Invitational, as we just listed, still attracts top-tier talent.
Professionals will vie for 3,000 Race to Dubai points and a winner’s share of $425,000. The winner of the International Swing will qualify for the next scheduled Rolex Series event, the Genesis Scottish Open in July, and each tournament of the DP World Tour’s Back 9 phase of the season.
The tournament unfolds at the prestigious Dubai Creek Resort, a course dating back to 1993 and ranked among the best in the Middle East and North Africa.
Known for its sail-shaped clubhouse and challenging holes, the course’s 17th and 18th promise extra suspense, with the creek guarding the left side.
Christopher May, CEO of Dubai Golf, has expressed his admiration for the course: “It’s a venue that has a great heritage with professional golf, having previously been the host venue for the Dubai Desert Classic, and will be an incredible asset to the new tour schedule with a finishing stretch of holes that rivals almost any in the world”.
A promising spectacle
The Dubai Invitational is the first chapter in a thrilling Middle East golfing spree. Even Rory McIlroy himself can’t hide his excitement, stating, “I’m really excited to start my year at the Dubai Invitational. I’ve always enjoyed coming back to Dubai to set up my season, and with a pro-am format, this tournament is going to be an enjoyable week.”
Surely, we can’t help but trust the golfing world’s star. So buckle up and get ready for four days packed with exhilarating golf as the DP World Tour’s 2024 season kicks off in style in the vibrant city of Dubai!