Eyes of golfing world on Abu Dhabi
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2012 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship | Preview | 25 Jan 2012
This week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship offers a line-up which includes six of the world’s top ten not to mention the chance to see just how Tiger Woods has come through his eight week tournament break since winning his first event in more than two years.
The tournament, now into its seventh year, is therefore a must watch event, the European Tour no doubt delighted that the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open is likely to play second fiddle in terms of world golfing interest this week.
Woods gets to play the event for the first occasion but he is no stranger to success in this region having won the nearby Dubai Desert Classic on two occasions and regularly played that event well.
Woods won his own event in California in early December after an impressive 3rd place finish at the Australian Open. The field he faces this week is stronger than both of those events and there will be much interest to see where he is at with his game as he begins his 2012 season.
Martin Kaymer has an unbelievable record in this event winning three times and finishing runner-up on one other in just five starts. Kaymer has not played since the Dubai World Championship six weeks ago but he was in good solid form for most of last year and clearly loves this Peter Harradine designed layout.
Rory McIlory is another to be beginning his 2012 campaign this week and although he has not won this event in four attempts he has played well including when runner-up to Kaymer last year. McIlroy’s last seven starts worldwide resulted in six top five finishes which suggests he should take little time to be back at his best.
Lee Westwood did finish runner-up to Kaymer in this event in 2008 although in his last couple of starts it has not been quite so good. He did however win at his last tournament start in Thailand in mid December and might be ready to pick up where he left off.
Luke Donald has played here only once, his PGA Tour career taking precedence in the past. He finished 11th then but as the clear world number one he deserves consideration at least. He finished 12th at his last tournament start in Australia on December 14th.
Jason Day played well in his two stroke-play tournaments in Australia although he was perhaps disappointing at the Presidents Cup. He is such a talent however that he could do well in what is his first tournament start since Tiger Wood’s tournament in early December.
Sergio Garcia has a good record in this event without winning. He is almost back to his former glory having put together a great 2011. He could be one for slightly longer odds.
Australians in the field other than Day are Richard Green, Marcus Fraser, Andrew Dodt, Matthew Zions and Brett Rumford with New Zealander Michael Campbell, now residing near Lausanne in Switzerland, also teeing it up.
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