Rory McIlroy returns to action: What to expect in Dubai as Northern Irishman begins DP World Tour season? | Golf News

Rory McIlroy hopes to enjoy another winning start to a calendar year as he kickstarts his 2024 campaign at the inaugural Dubai Invitational, live on Sky Sports.

McIlroy began his 2023 season with victory at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, the first of two Rolex Series titles in an impressive year that him saw finish as the Race to Dubai champion for a fifth time.

The 34-year-old’s win last year was his fifth title in Dubai, having previously won the Dubai Desert Classic in 2009 and 2015 as well as the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in 2012 and 2015, with McIlroy targeting more Middle East success as he headlines the 60-man line-up.

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Sky Sports Golf has the very best of the action to watch out for next year!

McIlroy is joined at Dubai Creek Resort by Ryder Cup team-mates Tommy Fleetwood and Nicolai Højgaard, who all featured in Team Europe’s impressive 16.5-11.5 victory in Rome last September, with winning captain Luke Donald also in the field.

Four-time DP World Tour winner Adrian Meronk, defending BMW PGA Championship champion Ryan Fox and 2018 Ryder Cup hero Francesco Molinari all feature, with numerous winners from the 2023 Race to Dubai calendar all looking to make strong starts to the season.

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Highlights from the fourth and final round of the 2023 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, where Ryan Fox claimed an impressive victory

The Dubai Invitational will be played bi-annually and is the first event of the International Swing on the DP World Tour’s new 2024 schedule, with tournaments already confirmed in 2026 and 2028, but what else do you need to know about the event?

What is the format?

The event is a 72-hole individual stroke play tournament played alongside a three-day Pro-Am team contest, with Sunday featuring professionals only.

Each amateur will lead a team and can either play with the same professional for the first two rounds or change after the opening day, with the leading amateur in the team competition then paired with the leading professional for Saturday’s play.

An amateur will team up with the professional in the same position on the respective leaderboard for the third round, with the aggregate of the lowest score from team members on each hole over three rounds being used. The winning amateur team will be the one with the lowest 54-hole total.

Who are the amateurs involved?

DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley – who turns 60 this week – and Jimmy Dunne, vice-chairman of the PGA Tour’s policy board, are among the notable names from the golfing world in action.

Keith Pelley will be among the 60 amateurs involved

There’s sporting interest from former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and legendary quarterback John Elway, who won the Super Bowl twice with the Denver Broncos, while former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke is also involved.

The amateur line-up also includes a host of big-name businessmen from a range of companies, including Hero MotoCorp chairman Dr Pawan Munjal and many others who are heavily involved in tournaments across the golfing calendar.

Live DP World Tour Golf

Thursday 11th January 7:30am

How can I watch the action?

Sky Sports will have extended coverage from the opening DP World Tour event of 2024, with live coverage from 7.30am each day on Sky Sports Golf. The event is one of two golf tournaments live on Sky this week, with the Sony Open in Hawaii also available from 5pm on Thursday.

What’s next for McIlroy after this week?

McIlroy will aim to defend his Hero Dubai Desert Classic a week later, the first Rolex Series event of the year, before making his first PGA Tour start of the year at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California from February 1-4.

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McIlroy is targeting further Race to Dubai titles after claiming his fifth late last year

The Northern Irishman is likely to feature at the following three Signature Events in the PGA Tour schedule, the Genesis Invitational from February 15-18, the Arnold Palmer Invitational from March 7-10 and The Players from March 14-17, but is yet to confirm his pre-Masters schedule after that.

Mcllroy will arrive at Augusta National as one of the pre-tournament favourites with the former world No 1 looking to bounce back from last year’s missed cut, claim a fifth major title and secure the only major missing to complete the career Grand Slam.

Watch Rory McIlroy in action throughout 2024 live on Sky Sports. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and more on NOW.

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