If the Desert Swing teaches us anything it’s that if you take your eye off the ball, you can’t expect to get the contact you want.
The Dubai Desert Classic was always an odd but fascinating event that saw the likes of Seve and Tiger regularly playing with gusto. That other event that they were starting in Abu Dhabi wasn’t going to amount to much.
Now in 2016, most don’t know that McIlroy is the defending Dubai champion but the golfing world is over-analyzing Rickie Fowlers impressive claiming of the Falcon Trophy ahead of the top players in the world.
Of course these things work in ebbs and flows. A few years ago the Desert Classic assembled every living winner and Seve’s son played on behalf of his legendary father. But one photo didn’t seem worth the effort and expense.
You could flip this argument around and say Abu Dhabi’s Championship just throws money around and it’s too tempting for the hottest players to turn down. And you could say the Desert Classic has become a traditional honest event that doesn’t need a gimmicky entry list.
Certainly the Classic has a much richer history and it’s champions roll call is impressive ; Montgomerie, Els, Woods, McIlroy etc. while Martin Kaymer remains the only Major winner to also be a winner in Abu Dhabi.
But to get that all-important global coverage, you do have to pull out all the stops. The Ladies Dubai Masters realized this when they offered internet-sensation Paige Spiranac her first professional start. While she struggled a bit on the course, the organizers had already got want they wanted with a myriad of pre-tournament interviews, photos and quotes from Ms. Spiranac that were sent around the world.
While Abu Dhabi’s approach may be blunt, you can’t argue with the American media’s presence during the event. Dubai has the history but has perhaps lost a bit of its buzz in recent years.
Which one is best? I guess in the modern world, you have to ask the accountants for the answer.