The calendar year of the DP World Tour kicked off in dramatic fashion with a final group pairing of Fleetwood Mac, Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy, sparring it out over the final 18 holes at Dubai Creek Golf Course.
Thriston Lawrence almost gatecrashed the party with a final round 64, gaining 3 shots on the final two-ball. He was leader in the clubhouse, trailing Rory by one, but a bogey by the Irishman and a stunning birdie on the last by Fleetwood gave the likeable Englishman the spoils.
I always enjoy the start of the season, albeit this was the 7th event of the year given that they had events almost straight after the 2023 season. Since there is a ton of snow, freezing temperatures and no signs of golf in Finland for the foreseeable future it’s time to check my golf bag and mark my golf balls for the year.
It’s a great way to spend a Sunday, in front of the fire and watching some of the best golfers battling it out. The TV coverage is usually very good. The commentary team are entertaining and it was nice to have Radar as the on course commentator. I really like Iona & Inci and they are an integral part of the team: Radar just adds to it. Normally I don’t get to hear him due to him being a Sky commentator, so it was a bonus this week.
There were a few takeaways from this event.
Golf media focuses on celebrity: Most of the coverage was about the final grouping on the day. Lawrence had fair coverage on TV, don’t get me wrong, but the X’s and news outlets all focused on how Tommy beat Rory. If Tommy had not birdied the final hole Lawrence would have been in the playoff too.
Not all sponsors invites should take up the offer: Ken Weyand shot a combined 53 over par: 72 strokes off the lead. I realise the guy is connected, but it really? Congratulations for not WDing!
Ryder Cup camaraderie: obviously Tommy and Rory get along well. The graciousness and respect in post round interviews highlighted this. It was not just the fist pumps when Tommy holed the putt. The players could be seen chatting frequently together as they walked the course.
A good, friendly, but exciting first tournament of 2024. Onto the Hero next where the field is larger and the competition is greater. More of the same please.