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

DATES: Thursday, January 31st through Sunday, February 3rd
SITE: Emirates Golf Club (Majlis course), Dubai, United Arab Emirates
COURSE ARCHITECT: Karl Litten (1988)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,316
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 4 451 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 3,609 Yds37 3,707 Yds
Annual:  24th
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Friday -- 4:30-8:30 a.m. (et),
  - Saturday/Sunday -- 4-8 a.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Rafa Cabrera-Bello
Runner-Up:  Stephen Gallacher, Lee Westwood
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
Share:  1st Place - $415,865; 2nd Place - $277,239; 3rd Place - $156,200
2012 Finish
Rafa Cabrera-Bello270Rory McIlroy274
Stephen Gallacher271George Coetzee274
Lee Westwood271Scott Jamieson274
Marcel Siem273Three players at275
Soren Kjeldsen274
Past Omega Dubai Desert Classic Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2012Rafa Cabrera-Bello (270) -- Stephen Gallacher, Lee Westwood
2011Alvaro Quiros (277) -- Anders Hansen, James Kingston
2010*Miguel Angel Jimenez (277) -- Lee Westwood
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
Rafa Cabrera-Bello---------------------mcT-20Won
Stephen GallacherT-38T-34T-51T-22T-44T-44mcT-31T-10T-2
Lee WestwoodT-38T-12T-6T-28T-25T-10T-392ndT-15T-2
Thomas BjornT-6mcT-22T-47T-10T-44mcT-15mcT-9
Jamie DonaldsonT-13mcT-11T-35------mcmcT-48T-16
Chris Wood------------------mcT-20T-10T-20
Henrik StensonT-71T-45T-22T-7WonT-63rdT-8mcT-20
Simon DysonmcT-20T-51T-19T-7T-25T-32T-56T-28T-33
Thongchai JaideeT-9T-5T-72T-22T-18T-19T-473rdmcT-42
Matteo Manassero---------------------T-31mcT-42
Thorbjorn Olesen------------------------mcT-42
Richie Ramsay---------------------mcT-31T-51
Mark O'MearaT-52WonmcT-63mcT-39mcmcmcT-61
Robert-Jan DerksenWonmcT-63T-47T-20T-54T-20T-51T-55mc
Sergio Garcia------------mcT-19T-11---T-20---
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Sergio Garcia
Darkhorse - Thongchai Jaidee
Last Week's Pick to Win (Justin Rose) - Finished tied for 16th
Last Week's Darkhorse (David Howell) - Finished tied for 22nd
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. Three of the top-30 players in the world are competing - Lee Westwood (8), Sergio Garcia (14) and Jamie Donaldson (30).

Westwood is making his season debut this week. He has made 14 straight cuts in Dubai, finishing second in 1999, 2010 and 2012. Garcia finished tied for second behind Chris Wood last week at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in his first time out this year. Donaldson is playing for the first time since winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship two weeks ago.

This is the 13th straight year and 22nd overall that Emirates Golf Club is hosting the tournament. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club played host to the event in 1999-2000.

Last year, Rafa Cabrera-Bello shot rounds of 63-69-70-68 for a 1-stroke win over Stephen Gallacher and Westwood. Cabrera-Bello finished at 18-under-par 270. It was the second European Tour victory for Cabrera-Bello, who won the Austrian Golf Open in 2009.

In 2011, Alvaro Quiros carded three straight rounds of 68 following an opening-round 73 to win. He finished his fifth European Tour title at 11-under-par 277 for a 1-stroke win over Anders Hansen and James Kingston. Quiros aced the par-3 11th hole in the final round en route to victory. He became the third player in European Tour history to win and record a hole-in-one in the final round. The others are Thongchai Jaidee (2004 Malaysian Open) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (2008 BMW PGA Championship).

In 2009, Rory McIlroy won his first European Tour event. He led wire-to-wire after firing rounds of 64-68-67-70 to finish at 19-under-par 269. McIlroy ended with a 1-stroke victory over Justin Rose and became the fifth player to win in wire-to-wire fashion, joining Eamonn Darcy (1990), Seve Ballesteros (1992), Ernie Els (1994) and Jose Coceres (2000).

Tiger Woods fired a 7-under 65 in the final round of 2008 to win for the second time in three years, posting six birdies on the back nine to overcome a 4-stroke deficit. Woods beat Germany's Martin 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 while No. 32. Els, a three-time champion, finished in the top three for the seventh consecutive year.

In 2005, Els eagled the 72nd hole to rally from a shot behind to defeat Stephen Dodd and Jimenez for the title. With the eagle, Els polished off a final-round, 4-under 68 to finish 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 since Fred Couples in 1995, had not won since capturing the 1998 Cisco World Match Play Championship. With the victory, O'Meara became the oldest champion in tournament history at 47 years old.

The European Tour international schedule moves to South Africa next week for the Joburg Open in Johannesburg, where Branden Grace will defend the title in his home country.

01/29 16:53:49 ET

As of January 29, 2013, at 04:53 PM ET