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It may only be September, but we have already seen the global golfing landscape change so much in 2023 that it is almost unrecognisable to the traditionalists. 

LIV Golf is forging ahead with its plans for next season in the midst of a potential partnership deal with the PGA Tour. The Asian Tour continues to climb to new heights with more and more big names playing on its elevated International Series events. The Ladies European Tour and LPGA have been showing the boys how things can be done amicably as players from both sides of the pond are free to compete on multiple tours and series at the same time — including the Aramco Team Series and competitions such as the innovative co-sanctioned ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland. 

Of course, the PGA Tour has been evolving on almost a weekly basis as it adapts to keep up with the changing landscape that the emergence of LIV Golf has created in the men’s game. 

However, one of the most significant changes of note in recent times — especially for people in this part of the world — has come on the DP World Tour, which recently announced its new-look schedule for 2023-24.

Front and centre of the major shake-ups is the UAE — now considered by many as the tour’s ‘home’ — with at least five events scheduled for the upcoming season (there are three TBA slots on the calendar as of now). 

Following the traditional early-campaign events in Australia, South Africa and Mauritius before the Christmas break, the Tour rolls into the UAE in January for a revamped triple-header — but notably, no Abu Dhabi Championship (don’t worry, fans, more on that later).

The biggest change at the start of the year is a new arrival in the form of the Dubai Invitational which will be hosted at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club Resort from January 11-14, with prize money of $2.5 million. 

It is great to see Dubai Creek back on the circuit after a prolonged absence — the club hosted the Dubai Desert Classic in 1999 and 2000 on the old European Tour, and the iconic course with its stunning clubhouse will be a welcome addition to the programme. 

Speaking of the Classic, the 35th iteration of the Rolex Series event will occupy its traditional spot (January 18-21), with $9 million up for grabs and a host of stars hunting the crown Rory McIlroy won in dramatic fashion and horrendous weather earlier this year. The Ras Al Khaimah Championship at Al Hamra Golf Club rounds out the triple-header at the end of January.

In another welcome revamp to the calendar, expanding the DP World Tour across the Middle East, Bahrain will be joining the fold from February 1-4, as the Royal Golf Club will welcome some of the world’s top players to the resort, south of Manama, with a purse of $2.5 million.

Fast-forward to the end of the year and we have the one of the most significant changes to golf in the UAE in recent times as the Abu Dhabi Championship has been moved from its traditional January spot to form a season finale play-off along with the DP World Tour Championship.

Running in November, these two final Rolex Series events of the season will have a whopping pool of $19 million in prize money in a remodelled season conclusion. The AD Champ will welcome the leading 70 players on the Race to Dubai Rankings to Yas Links, before a trimmed-down top 50 head back to Dubai for the showdown at Jumeirah Golf Estates, where the DP World Tour’s No. 1 will be crowned.

Before all that, though, we are in ‘Team’ mode for September as the Walker Cup takes place at St Andrews before the Solheim Cup heads to Finca Cortesin in Spain (September 22-September 24), and the men get their turn in the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome.

The 20 amateurs are set for the amateur appetiser in Scotland where Great Britain & Ireland host the recently dominant Americans. Suzann Pettersen’s European ladies are looking strong for their defence of the Solheim on home soil, with the likes of in-form Celine Boutier and Maja Stark joining old heads such as Georgia Hall and Anna Nordqvist in a balanced-looking side.

On the visitors’ roster, Stacy Lewis certainly has the stardust with in-bloom youngster Rose Zhang joining AIG Women’s Open champ and world No. 1 Lilia Vu, world No. 2 Nelly Korda and US Open winner Allisen Corpuz. Megan Khang could prove to be their trump card as Miss Consistent — a T-9 at the Chevron Championship and Amundi Evian Championship, alongside a T-3 at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

This one is gonna be close.

While the Ryder Cup teams go through their final touches, it could prove to be a slugfest between the big guns, with Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and BMW Championship winner Viktor Hovland in the blue corner against Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffle, Patrick Cantlay and (possibly as it stands) Brooks Koepka in the red corner. 

Perhaps the biggest worry for Team USA and Zach Johnson is Justin Thomas, who has had a torrid year but is one of the best match-play players in the world. 

For Team Europe, their weak point could be the final four, where things look a little shaky, with question marks over the form of the likes of Sepp Straka, Victor Perez and Adrian Meronk.

I’ll wait to see how this one pans out as it could go either way, and that home crowd in Italy could well be the 13th man Team Europe needs.