'The idea of playing under floodlights is pretty cool': Players embrace bright idea of Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic
First-of-its-kind tournament gets under way at Emirates Golf Club on Wednesday
Leading players on the Ladies European Tour say they can't wait to tee off when the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic gets under way at Emirates Golf Club on Wednesday in another landmark first for golf in the UAE.
Formerly known as the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, the new-look tournament has been switched from December to May with the top 56 players on the LET, including money leader Marianne Skarpnord, former money lists winners Beth Allen and Becky Brewerton, and 2017 Solheim Cup teammates Florentyna Parker and Emily Kristine Pedersen set to battle for a portion of the US$285,000 (Dh1.05 million) purse.
Caroline Hedwall is the highest-ranked player in the field, at world No 133. Leona Maguire, the former world amateur No 1, will compete alongside her twin, Lisa. Popular Scot Carly Booth is also part of the field.
Social media personality Paige Spiranac will host live coverage of the three-day event across the Dubai Moonlight Classic’s social media channels.
The players on the Tour had the chance to practise under the lights at the Faldo Course on Monday ahead of the 54-hole tournament. Each will play at least nine holes of one of their opening two rounds under LED floodlights.
Cheyenne Woods, the niece of 15-time major winner Tiger Woods who has twice contested the Ladies Masters (tied-20th in 2014, tied-10th in 2016) in Dubai, praised the concept.
“It will be a very new challenge but I’m excited," she said. "I think it’s a great event for golf. I think these formats keep the fans interested and it’s good for us too, just having a different experience playing."
England's Meghan MacLaren, a two-time winner on the LET, said the new format was "about forcing people to sit up and take notice".
“Any time that golf tries to innovate it creates a bit of a buzz, which I think is exactly what the game needs," she said. "Hopefully the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic means a few more people will be paying attention just to see something different happening.
“The idea of playing under floodlights is pretty cool. I’ve always enjoyed going to watch evening football matches so hopefully golf will be the same.”
Spain's Noemi Jimenez Martin, a rising star on the LET, said a day-night tournament would allow fans to see the game in a fun environment.
“I’m really excited and can’t wait because it’s going to be an interesting tournament. We are going to make history so it’s going to be really exciting. I think a lot of people will watch this event because it’s new and it’s going to create a different buzz.”
Entry for the tournament is free and no registration is required. For more information, please visit the tournament website www.omegadubaimoonlightclassic.com
Updated: April 30, 2019 02:29 PM