By Kent Gray
First, the Saudi International departed for Asia in a seismic 10-year deal. Then the Dubai Desert Classic got a new sponsor and a Rolex Series upgrade complete with a near $5 million prize purse injection. Next, the new Ras Al Khaimah Championship was shoehorned into the Race to Dubai schedule where Saudi once was. Now, the new-look Desert Swing has a new venue for the first event of the 2022 European Tour.
After 16 successive years at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be hosted by Yas Links Abu Dhabi for the first time in January.
Like the Desert Classic in Dubai, the January 20-23 Race to Dubai season opener is also a premier Rolex Series event with an $8 million prize purse.
Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the European Tour made the announcement in a joint statement Monday but gave no reason for the decision to move away from Abu Dhabi GC.
Designed by Kyle Phillips and recently ranked 48th in Golf Digest’s global Top 100 courses, the move to Yas Links will please lovers of desert-style links golf.
“As one of our Rolex Series events, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and Yas Links [will] offer our players and fans an experience like no other,” said European Tour CEO Keith Pelley.
“Yas Island is synonymous with major sporting events in the United Arab Emirates and we are delighted our first Rolex Series tournament of the year will be highlighted on the global stage.”
Tyrrell Hatton is the defending champion.