Dubai Interviews: Rafa Cabrera-Bello
Sport In Dubai
We catch up with golfer Rafa Cabrera-Bello ahead of the DP World Tour Championship this November. Get to know the athlete’s favourite golf spots as well as his recommendations for where to up your golf game and get a great steak in Dubai.
We catch up with Spanish golfer Rafa Cabrera-Bello ahead of the DP World Tour Championship
Learn why Dubai is a golfer’s dream destination
As he limbers up to take part in the DP World Tour Championship – the grand finale in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai taking place from 17-20 November – we catch up with Spanish golfer Rafa Cabrera-Bello.
This part of the world is not new to you. You’ve won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in 2012, you came so close to winning the DP World Tour Championship in 2014 – is 2016 going to be your victory moment on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates?
Dubai has been a region I really enjoy visiting over the years. I have developed many friendships and love playing on its wonderful golf courses. Playing in Dubai reminds me of where I grew up in the Canary Islands with palm trees and great weather.
Winning the Dubai Desert Classic has been my highlight and losing the DP World Tour Championship in 2014 was my biggest disappointment - having led that great Championship by a few shots with a couple of holes to go. However, that is what makes sport so exciting, emotional and unpredictable. I will certainly be ready to give it my best to win the DP World Tour Championship this year.
How do the courses in Dubai differ from those elsewhere?
The quality golf courses and facilities in Dubai are world class. The Majlis is my favourite course and the Jumeirah Golf Estates is a world-class facility and I train at the European Tour Performance Institute (ETPI) when I am in Dubai. I really enjoy a social game and practice with friends when I am in Dubai at JA Jebel Ali Golf Course.
What’s the biggest challenge on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates?
The Earth course is a tough test from tee to green - you need to be long and very precise with your tee shots to give yourself the best approach into the greens. I love the Earth course; it suits my game and it is a great showcase for the European Tour and our final tournament of the season.
In a field containing three of the world’s top four, you held off the challenge of the likes of Lee Westwood and Stephen Gallacher to win the Dubai Desert Classic in 2012. What did victory taste like?
Some of my idols had won in Dubai with Seve [Ballesteros] and Ollie [Jose Maria Olazabal] and in the two years before me my friends Miguel [Angel Jiminez] and Alvaro [Quiros]. It was special to add to that Spanish heritage and it was great knowing I could win a tournament that so many top players target.
Rumour has it you may be looking to spend more time in Dubai and perhaps move here sometime in the future. Tell us about your love affair with the city.
Dubai, particularly, is a special place for me. I have won in the emirate so just being here brings good memories and that obviously gets me in the right mood on the fairways. I plan to move to Dubai by the end of the year. It is perfect for my schedule as a professional golfer being close to Europe and Asia during the European winters. I love the weather, golf, great food and restaurants and most importantly my girlfriend lives and works in Dubai!
What do you love doing here?
Seeing my girlfriend (I have to say that don’t I?), meeting friends, training and going out for dinner. I love going for a steak at The Meat Co at Madinat Jumeirah – the views of the Burj al Arab are spectacular and I love the atmosphere in the souk. I tend to stay at the JA Oasis Beach Tower on JBR because it’s right in the heart of JBR Walk and The Beach complex.
The DP World Tour Championship will be held 17-20 November 2016 at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Dubai Corporation of Tourism & Commerce Marketing