Dubai: As the No. 1 player in the PGA TOUR University Ranking at the end of the fall college golf season, Stanford senior Michael Thorbjornsen has earned an exemption into the DP World Tour’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

The Rolex Series event and the 35th edition of the tournament will be played at Emirates Golf Club between 18th to 21st January 2024 and is the third year the tournament has offered an exemption to PGA TOUR University’s top-ranked player.

Thorbjornsen competed in the 2023 Hero Dubai Desert Classic on a sponsor exemption and posted a third-round 64 en route to a T20 finish in his first start on the DP World Tour. He also has four made cuts on the PGA TOUR, highlighted by a fourth-place finish at the 2022 Travelers Championship, and he qualified for the U.S. Open three times. His junior season at Stanford included wins at the Fighting Illini Invitational and Pac-12 Championship, and was named 2023 Pac-12 Golfer of the Year and a PING First-Team All-American.

Texas A&M’s Sam Bennett (2022) and Texas Tech’s Ludvig Åberg (2023) were the first two players to earn the PGA TOUR University exemption into the Hero Dubai Desert Classic. Since their starts in the event, Bennett went on to win the 2022 U.S. Amateur and finished T16 at the 2023 Masters, and Åberg competed for Europe at the 2023 Ryder Cup and has wins at the DP World Tour’s Omega European Masters and the PGA TOUR’s RSM Classic.

Thorbjornsen will join World No.2 and defending champion Rory McIlroy, who will be searching for his fourth historic Dallah Trophy in January with organisers set to announce more big players in the coming weeks.

Simon Corkill, Executive Tournament Director of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, said: “Helping develop the next stars of tomorrow - both locally and overseas – is very important for us and our partnership with the PGA Tour provides a platform for golf’s young rising stars to not only compete against the world’s best professionals but also gain vital competitive experience that will help them take their game to the next level.

“We look forward to welcoming Michael Thorbjornsen to the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in January following an impressive year on the PGA Tour University calendar.”

GOLF Channel will air all four rounds live of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in the United States and Canada, with SKY Sports Golf providing live event coverage in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

In partnership with the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR®), PGA TOUR University ranks collegiate players based on their average performance in NCAA Division-I men’s team competitions, official PGA TOUR tournaments and select DP World Tour events over a two-year ranking period. 

The No. 1 player in the final PGA TOUR University Ranking on May 27, 2024, will earn PGA TOUR membership, while players Nos. 1-5 (fully exempt) and Nos. 6-10 (conditional) will earn Korn Ferry Tour membership. Additionally, players Nos. 6-20 will earn fully exempt membership for the North America Swing of PGA TOUR Americas. For more information, visit 

About Hero Dubai Desert Classic

The Dubai Desert Classic was founded in 1989 as the first DP World Tour event to take place in the Gulf, and the first and only Geo-certified golf event in the Middle East. Regarded as one of the most significant events on the DP World Tour, and part of the prestigious Rolex Series, it has been credited with paving the way for golf’s presence in the Middle East, as well as creating some of the most iconic moments in golfing history.

Promoted and organised by Falcon and Associates, the tournament played on the Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club, is fondly referred to as the ‘Major of the Middle East’, due to its legacy and world-class players drawn to the tournament every year.

The tournament is supported by title sponsor, Hero MotoCorp, and Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), a founding partner of the Dubai Desert Classic. As the 35th edition of the event, the tournament will take place from 18th to 21st January 2024 in Dubai.

To learn more about the tournament, visit and follow Hero Dubai Desert Classic on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook, (@dubaidcgolf), or download the new app (Desert Classic) for all the latest event information, and to purchase and manage your tickets.

 About PGA TOUR University

Introduced in 2020, PGA TOUR University identifies the best players in Division-I college golf and provides membership opportunities on PGA TOUR-affiliated tours. PGA TOUR University alumni have won 15 professional events, and five alumni earned their PGA TOUR cards for the 2022-23 season: Ludvig Åberg, Austin Eckroat, Davis Thompson, Trevor Werbylo and Kevin Yu.

PGA TOUR University ranks players based on the last two years of their collegiate careers. The No. 1 player in the final PGA TOUR University Ranking will earn PGA TOUR membership, while players Nos. 1-5 (fully exempt) and Nos. 6-10 (conditional) will earn Korn Ferry Tour membership. Additionally, players finishing 6th through 20th will earn fully exempt membership on PGA TOUR Americas.

PGA TOUR University will be featured on GOLF Channel each Wednesday on Golf Today and within weekly live tournament coverage, as well as across GOLF Channel and PGA TOUR digital platforms throughout the season. For more information, visit and follow PGA TOUR University on Twitter and Instagram (@PGATOURU).

About the DP World Tour
The DP World Tour is the main men’s professional golf Tour of the European Tour group, with a global schedule featuring a minimum of 39 tournaments in 26 different countries across the 2023 season.

Formerly known as the European Tour, which was established in 1972, the 2023 DP World Tour schedule includes five Rolex Series events, along with four Major Championships, one World Golf Championship event, as well as tournaments staged around the world with a minimum prize of $2million for all events solely sanctioned by the DP World Tour.

The season concludes with the final Rolex Series event, the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, where the winner of the Tour’s season-long competition, the Race to Dubai Rankings in partnership with Rolex, will be crowned.

DP World, the leading provider of global smart end-to-end supply chain and logistics solutions, is the title partner of the DP World Tour, which is administered by the European Tour group.

About the European Tour group

The European Tour group is the overarching corporate brand which administers four competition brands: the DP World Tour, the Challenge Tour, the Legends Tour and, along with the PGA of America, is the Managing Partner of golf’s greatest team contest, the Ryder Cup.
Established in 1972, the European Tour group is committed to ‘Driving Golf Further’ through our guiding principles of being innovative, inclusive and global.

Innovative: We are driving innovation in golf through the creation of award-winning content, pioneering tournament formats and the use of the latest technology and inventive fan engagement. We are committed to attracting new audiences whilst respecting the tradition of our sport.

Inclusive: We are committed to include all who share a love for the game of golf. We are passionate about a closer collaboration with the women’s game, golf for the disabled and promoting the many physical and mental health benefits of playing golf.  

Global: Since 1972, players from 38 different countries have won tournaments on our main Tour, while our live broadcast reaches more than 490 million homes in more than 150 countries every week, generating in excess of 2,200 global broadcast hours for each event. We also enjoy the support of many of the world’s leading business brands with DP World, Rolex, BMW, Emirates, Fortinet and Hilton as Official Partners.
The European Tour group has Strategic Alliances with the PGA TOUR, the Sunshine Tour and ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia, while  we ensure we have a positive long-term impact on the courses, countries and the communities we visit through ‘Golf for Good’, the umbrella name for the European Tour group’s commitment to ‘Driving Golf Further’ in an environmentally and socially sustainable way.