1st round of Dubai Desert Classic to be closed to public

FILE - Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off at the 18th hole during DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Nov. 19, 2022. McIlroy was one of the most vocal critics of the LIV Golf breakaway league last year. It left him feeling mentally drained so he decided to put his clubs away for a few weeks around Christmas. Now he’s back and appears to be as fiery as ever as he prepares to play the Dubai Desert Classic. (AP Photo/Martin Dokoupil, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Spectators will not be allowed to attend the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday because of what organizers have described as “severe weather conditions” forecast at Emirates Golf Club.

The European tour said Wednesday the decision had been made “with the safety of all in mind.”

“Emirates Golf Club will be open only to the players, the caddies, officials and the media,” the tour said, adding that it looks forward to inviting the public back to the course on Friday.

The Dubai Desert Classic is one of the biggest events on the European tour's schedule. Top-ranked Rory McIlroy headlines the field this year.

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