A stunning payout of $2.5 million for a hole-in-one will ratchet up the excitement levels to a new high when players tee it up at the 17th hole during the 25th edition of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club this week.
For the first time in the history of the longest-running European Tour event in the region, the hole-in-one incentive is offered to players on the drivable par-4 hole in addition to other attractive prizes for acing the 186-yard, par-3, 7th which carries a sleek Omega watch (Seamaster Aqua Terra Chronometer) and 190-yar par-3, 15th where a brand new Mercedes-Benz is at stake.
With an array of elite golfers, which includes the likes of world number one Tiger Woods, European number one Henrik Stenson and world number seven Rory McIlroy among other past champions joining the fray, there is a distinct possibility of someone laughing all the way to the bank.
If the stars align perfectly, a player realistically could walk away with a whopping $3,216,660 if he won the Champions Challenge ($300,000) on Tuesday, hole-in-one on the 17th and the tournament on Sunday ($416,660), seemingly an improbable, but highly fascinating scenario.
Measuring 359 yards, the 17th hole is the second shortest par four after hole 2nd (351 yards) on the Majlis course, but one which is fraught with danger as going straight for the target can make or mar the hole which is surrounded by sand, trees and desert grass.
The first player who aces the 17th either on Saturday or Sunday will receive the $2.5 million prize since the incentive is offered to only those players who make the half-way cut.
The hole will be shortened to about 325 yards in the final two rounds to add to the excitement.
"Aces on the golf course are extremely rare, especially on par-4s, because of the huge luck element involved, but skill definitely increases the probability. And we have no dearth of skilled golfers in the field,” said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice-chairman and CEO of golf in Dubai, the promoters and organisers of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
“A hole-in-one prize always adds to the excitement of a tournament and when it is on a par-4, it may get the adrenaline going much more. I am sure, the prize will be a talking point among players and will help draw big galleries to the hole as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of our event,” he added.
Of the notables, who have achieved a double eagle in a competitive round include PGA star Andrew Magee of the US (2001 Phoenix Open) while Rahil Gangjee of India, (2011 Mylan Classic) joined Chip Beck (2003 Omaha Classic) and Richard Johnson (2009 Michael Hill New Zealand Open) as the only others to accomplish the feat on web.com Tour.
‘golf in Dubai' is backed by Omega as the title sponsor and Dubal as the sponsor.
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