Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic golfers ready to go under the lights

Tristan Jones/LET

Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic golfers ready to go under the lights

Golf

Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic golfers ready to go under the lights

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In the latest outside-the-box effort of the Ladies European Tour, a champion will be crowned under the lights. The LET’s Dubai stop has moved from December to May and been renamed the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic. It will take place under the new eco-friendly LED floodlights at the Faldo Course at Emirates Golf Club, with each of the professionals playing at least nine holes in one of their opening rounds at night.

“Any time that golf tries to innovate it creates a bit of a buzz, which I think is exactly what the game needs,” said Meghan MacLaren, who made headlines recently when she contended for the title at the inaugural Jordan Mixed Open, which featured male and female professionals from three different tours competing against each other for a single purse.

“Hopefully the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic means a few more people will be paying attention just to see something different happening. The playing level is and always will be there, so it’s about forcing people to sit up and take notice.”

There are 56 professionals in the field and 168 amateurs. There is no cut in the 54-hole event, which takes place Wednesday-Friday. Each pro will be grouped with three amateurs who compete in a 36-hole tour scramble competition. The 56 pros will play the final round on their own.

Cheyenne Woods, who has conditional status on the LPGA, is playing in Dubai for a third time. A winner on the Ladies European Tour, Woods has plans to make her first LPGA start at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. She’s been competing in Monday qualifiers this year trying to break through.

In fact, that’s where she was her uncle won the Masters.

“I teed off while he was still playing so I missed everything!” she said of Tiger. “But I was playing my own event and wishing him the best and then after I finished, I re-watched 18 and then the celebrations. It was just so exciting to see, so exciting the whole world come together and cheer for him and support him knowing how far he’s come.”

Camilla Lennarth hasn’t played much night golf but said she felt the revamped Dubai event will be a fair test given the brightness of the lights.

“I think it’s good to try new concepts and see what works and what captures a different crowd,” said Lennarth.

To promo the event, the LET asked four players to team up and play the 18th hole blindfolded. The amusing video included a few misfires, including a shank into the hazard and a thinned bunker shot. But the kind of entertaining clip that generates much-needed attention for a tour that’s still struggling to find its place.

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