US$2.5 million for ace tempts Rory McIlroy ahead of Dubai Desert Classic
Whopping windfall on short par-4 17th matches reported appearance money that will go to top draw Tiger Woods
Rory McIlroy said on Wednesday that he could be tempted to have a crack at winning the glittering prize on offer for a hole-in-one at the Dubai Desert Classic’s short par-four 17th – a whopping US$2.5 million.
The mind-boggling windfall for one shot of golf equals the entire prize fund for the European Tour event, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and matches the reported appearance money that will go to top draw Tiger Woods.
Prizes for aces in tournament play are common, but they usually come on par-threes and they usually involve a luxury car or a bejewelled watch. Two and a half million dollars for the perfect golf shot is believed to be unprecedented.
Measuring 359 yards, the 17th hole is the second shortest par-four hole on the Majlis course, but it is a classic risk-reward challenge with sand, trees and desert grass waiting to gobble up any attempts to cut the dogleg short of the green.
One hitch is that the prodigious prize will only be on offer at the weekend for those that make the cut, but the hole will be reduced to about 325 yards to add to the excitement.
Asked if he could be tempted into having a go, former world No 1 McIlroy, a past winner here in 2009, said he certainly could.
“I mean if I’ve got the right wind on the 17th, I’d go for it,” he said.
“No matter what way the wind is it shouldn’t be a problem to get there. Yeah, there’s not many chances you have to win US$2.5 million in one shot, so I will give it a go.”