Following two days of delays and a deluge in Dubai, the DP World Tour reluctantly took the decision on Friday to move the final round of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic to Monday.
As the players completed their first rounds and some made early headway into Round 2 on Friday, it was announced by organisers that the 34th edition of the famous tournament would go over five days for the first time in history, with Round 2 concluding on Saturday before the remaining two rounds would be held on Sunday and Monday.
Mike Stewart, DP World Tour Tournament Director for the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, explained why the decision was made.
“It’s been really tough, and I feel desperately sorry for Emirates Golf Club and the staff here for what they have had to put up with, to deal with, contend with in the last couple of days,” he said.
“But I have to say, I’ve got to take my hat off to them because this is just amazing that we’ve played golf these past two days. To get the golf course ready, their preparation took eight hours yesterday from three in the morning until we actually kicked off, bailing out bunkers, fixing damaged bunker edges.
“We have had one rain stoppage in the past — I looked it up. We had rain and lightning in 2007, and we stopped for two hours, 15 minutes and gone back out again, that was on the Friday, and that’s the only stoppage we’ve had previously for rain. Now we’ve had, what, six hours yesterday, another three this morning. So yes, it’s quite unusual for this venue.
“This is one of the biggest events on the DP World Tour and we clearly want to make every effort possible to get to 72 holes at one of our biggest championships.
“Currently we are planning to play the third round in a one-tee start, and the final round in a two-tee start to finish a little bit earlier and give us a bit of breathing space in case of anything that goes wrong, so that’s the plan currently. That could change with the weather but the forecast is generally pretty good for the next three days.”