Floodlights could be used at Dubai Desert Classic

Floodlights have been installed around greens to ensure play can finish on schedule

 

The first two rounds of next week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic could finish under floodlights, the European Tour has announced.

With the €2.5 million event taking place a week earlier than normal, the amount of daylight could prove a problem for the later starters in the field.

However, floodlights have been installed around the combined ninth and 18th greens at Emirates GC to ensure play can finish on schedule, allowing a field of 132 players rather than 126.

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said: “This is a wonderful idea and fits perfectly with our desire to bring innovation to our sport.

“We thank the promoters of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic for their inventiveness and imagination which will allow six more players to compete in what is already a world-class field.

“No professional golfer ever wants to come back the following morning to complete a round due to lack of daylight and this intervention, should it be required, will rule out that necessity.

“The wonderful amphitheatre created by the huge hospitality units and grandstands around the ninth and 18th greens at the Emirates Golf Club is already one of the most atmospheric arenas on our Tour and that element will only be increased by this idea.”

Pelley has previously floated the idea of playing a full event under lights, although that received short shrift from 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett.

”That would be a useless idea,” Willett said in November 2016. ”It would be okay for a giggle but not for a real tournament and Race to Dubai money.”

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