European Golf Tour
PGA European - Omega Dubai Desert Classic Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, February 4th through Sunday, February 7th
SITE: Emirates Golf Club (Majlis course), Dubai, United Arab Emirates
COURSE ARCHITECT: Karl Litten (1988)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,301
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 458 Yds10 - Par 5 549 Yds
2 - Par 4 351 Yds11 - Par 3 169 Yds
3 - Par 5 568 Yds12 - Par 4 467 Yds
4 - Par 3 188 Yds13 - Par 5 550 Yds
5 - Par 4 436 Yds14 - Par 4 434 Yds
6 - Par 4 485 Yds15 - Par 3 190 Yds
7 - Par 3 186 Yds16 - Par 4 425 Yds
8 - Par 4 459 Yds17 - Par 4 359 Yds
9 - Par 4 463 Yds18 - Par 5 564 Yds
35 3,594 Yds37 3,707 Yds
Annual:  21st
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Sunday - 8:30 a.m.-12:30 pm (et) - taped,
Defending Champion:  Rory McIlroy
Runner-Up:  Justin Rose
Tournament Record:  266 (Thomas Bjorn, 2001)
54-Hole Record:  196 (Tiger Woods, 2001)
36-Hole Record:  128 (Tiger Woods, 2001)
Course Record:  61 (Ernie Els, 1994)
Total Purse:  $2,500,000 (1,800,000 euros)
Share:  1st Place - $413,127; 2nd Place - $275,414; 3rd Place - $155,173
2009 Finish
Rory McIlroy269Martin Kaymer272
Justin Rose270Louis Oosthuizen275
Henrik Stenson271Scott Strange275
Robert Karlsson272Anthony Wall275
Paul Casey272Miguel Angel Jimenez275
Past Omega Dubai Desert Classic Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2009Rory McIlroy (269) -- Justin Rose
2008Tiger Woods (274) -- Martin Kaymer
2007Henrik Stenson (269) -- Ernie Els
2006*Tiger Woods (269) -- Ernie Els
2005Ernie Els (269) -- Miguel Angel Jimenez, Stephen Dodd
2004Mark O'Meara (271) -- Paul McGinley
2003Robert-Jan Derksen (271) -- Ernie Els
2002Ernie Els (272) -- Niclas Fasth
2001Thomas Bjorn (266) -- Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington
2000Jose Coceres (274) -- Patrik Sjoland, Paul McGinley
1999David Howell (275) -- Lee Westwood
1998Jose Maria Olazabal (269) -- Stephen Allan
1997*Richard Green (272) -- Greg Norman, Ian Woosnam
1996Colin Montgomerie (270) -- Miguel Angel Jimenez
1995Fred Couples (268) -- Colin Montgomerie
1994Ernie Els (268) -- Greg Norman
1993Wayne Westner (274) -- Retief Goosen
1992*Seve Ballesteros (272) -- Ronan Rafferty
1991Not Held
1990Eamonn Darcy (276) -- David Feherty
1989*Mark James (277) -- Peter O'Malley

* - Won in Playoff

Note:Formerly called Karl Litten Classic (1989), Emirates Airline Classic
(1990), Dubai Desert Classic (1992-2009).

Top Contenders in the Field
Rory McIlroy------------------mcT-52mcWon
Henrik Stenson---mcmcT-71T-45T-22T-7WonT-63rd
Martin Kaymer------------------------2ndT-4
Robert Karlsson---mcT-32T-47T-56T-6T-28T-10T-19T-4
Paul Casey------------T-12---T-16T-20---T-4
Louis Oosthuizen------------T-27T-51mcmcT-3T-7
Anthony WallwdmcT-46mcmcT-22mcmcT-19T-7
Miguel A. JimenezT-46------T-38mcT-2T-4T-10T-54T-7
Scott Strange---------------------------T-7
Richard GreenmcT-12T-27T-52T-27T-223rdT-34mcT-11
Ross Fisher---------------------5thT-10T-13
Colin MontgomerieT-46T-21mc---T-124thmcT-10T-65T-13
Alvaro Quiros---------------------T-59mcT-13
Oliver Wilson---------------mcT-47T-31mcT-16
Thomas LevetT-37T-66mc---mc---------T-10T-20
Robert-Jan Derksen------mcWonmcT-63T-47T-20T-54T-20
Graeme McDowell---------mcmc------T-445thT-24
Peter Hanson------mc---T-52T-63T-726thmcT-24
Charl Schwartzel---------mcT-30T-47---T-48mcT-24
Lee WestwoodT-4T-17---T-38T-12T-6T-28T-25T-10T-39
Stephen Dodd------T-64mcmcT-2T-6962nd67thT-44
Ricardo GonzalezT-56T-21T-20---mcmcT-28mcT-6T-51
Paul Broadhurstwd---T-12T-47T-30T-72T-22T-25T-25T-54
Darren ClarkeT-17T-58T-7T-11mc---T-7T-20mcT-54
Soren HansenT-37T-28T-32T-28T-56T-40T-41mcT-6mc
Niclas Fasthmcmc2nd------T-22T-11T-3T-10mc
Mark O'MearaT-46mcmcT-52WonmcT-63mcT-39mc
Thomas BjornT-13WonT-20T-6mcT-22T-47T-10T-44mc
David HowellT-64T-43T-64mcT-3T-9T-28mcT-44mc
Nick Dougherty------T-46T-20mcT-6T-9T-34mcmc
Tom Watson------------------------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Rory McIlroy
Darkhorse - Alvaro Quiros
Last Week's Pick to Win (Henrik Stenson) - Finished tied for 64th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Louis Oosthuizen) - Finished tied for 14th
The European Tour wraps up its "Gulf Swing" this week with the last of three consecutive tournaments in the Middle East, the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Five of the top-10 players in the world will be competing this week, led by world No. 4 and 2009 European Tour No. 1 Lee Westwood. Joining Westwood in the field are world No. 6 and Abu Dhabi champion Martin Kaymer, world No. 7 Paul Casey, world No. 9 and defending champion Rory McIlroy and world No. 10 and 2007 champion Henrik Stenson.

Five-time British Open champion Tom Watson is playing in this event for the first time this year. Watson lost in a playoff last year at the British Open to Stewart Cink at the age of 59. He won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship on the Champions Tour two weeks ago. Watson is still ranked 126th in the world, due in large part to his finish at the British Open. This will be the first European Tour event outside of the major championships that Watson will play in since the 1993 German Masters.

Last year, McIlroy won his first European Tour event at this tournament. He led wire-to-wire after firing rounds of 64-68-67-70 to finish at 19-under-par 269. McIlroy nearly squandered a five-shot lead with four to play in the final round thanks to three consecutive bogeys from the 15th. Luckily for McIlroy, he ended with a one-stroke victory over Justin Rose to become the seventh- youngest winner in European Tour history.

McIlroy bogeyed 15, 16 and 17 on the final day. Rose birdied the 17th and suddenly it was a one-shot lead for McIlroy with one hole to play. Rose definitely had his chance. He missed a 15-footer to force at least a playoff. That stayed above ground, but he was not out of it completely thanks to an errant third from McIlroy that landed in a greenside bunker. McIlroy blasted out to four feet and converted the par putt to walk off with the nerve- wracking win.

McIlroy became the fifth player to win this event in wire-to-wire fashion, joining Eamonn Darcy (1990), Seve Ballesteros (1992), Ernie Els (1994) and Jose Coceres (2000).

In 2008, Tiger Woods fired a seven-under 65 in the final round to win this tournament for the second time in three years, posting six birdies on the back nine to overcome a four-stroke deficit. Woods beat Germany's Kaymer by just one stroke at 14-under 274. Woods passed Colin Montgomerie for solo third place on the European Tour's all-time wins list with No. 32. Els went to the 18th needing a birdie to tie Woods for the lead. Instead, he hit into the water and made bogey. It was the seventh consecutive year that Els, a three- time Dubai champion, finished in the top three.

In 2007, Henrik Stenson won the event by one shot over Els and by two over Woods. Stenson fired rounds of 68-64-69-68 to finish at 19-under-par 269. Stenson recorded four birdies on the back nine in the final round to surge in front. He ended in style with a seven-foot birdie on the 18th to secure the victory.

In 2006, Woods bested Els in a playoff. He walked away with a par at the first sudden-death hole after he birdied the last two holes of his final round to match Els for the lead. Woods and Els both finished at 19-under-par 269 for the tournament -- Woods after a three-under 69 and Els following a five-under 67 in the final round at Emirates Golf Club. Els held the clubhouse lead for a spell before Woods went birdie-birdie on 17 and 18. Back at the par-five 18th for the playoff, Els found the trees on his tee shot and the water on his second. Following a drop and his fourth shot, Els missed a par putt and opted not to finish the hole. Woods made par after finding the back of the green in two. The 2006 playoff was only the fourth in tournament history and first since Richard Green beat Greg Norman and Ian Woosnam in 1997.

In 2005, Els eagled the 72nd hole to rally from a shot behind to defeat Stephen Dodd and Miguel Angel Jimenez for the title. With the eagle, Els polished off a final-round, four-under 68 to finish the tournament at 19- under-par 269. Els became the first three-time winner in Dubai (he also titled here in 1994 and 2002).

When Mark O'Meara won in 2004, he ended a victory drought that spanned six years. O'Meara, the first American to win the event since Fred Couples in 1995, had not won since capturing the 1998 Cisco World Match Play Championship. With the win, O'Meara became the oldest champion in tournament history at 47 years old.

This is the 10th straight year and 19th overall that Emirates Golf Club is hosting the tournament. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club played host to the event in 1999-2000.

The European Tour international schedule moves to India next week for the inaugural Avantha Masters at DLF Golf and Country Club in New Delhi.

02/02 14:04:59 ET

As of February 2, 2010, at 02:05 PM ET