Cast of stars in Abu Dhabi
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2014 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship | Preview | 15 Jan 2014
The 2014 European Tour is already six events old but it will play just its second event outside of South Africa this week when the Abu Dhabi Championship is played the at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club in the United Arab Emirates.
The event is the first of the now traditional three tournament swing through the Middle East, this week’s championship followed by the Qatar Masters and the Dubai Desert Classic.
Two players have won five of the eight bu Dhabi Golf Championships to date, namely Martin Kaymer and Paul Casey and both are in the field. Both have done well enough to be considerations to extend their great record over this golf course.
There has been a great field assembled for the event with world number three Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlory joining other top ten players Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia in the line-up.
Garcia has developed into one of the game’s most consistent performers in the last two years and has done well enough at this event to be a major factor once again. I like his chances.
McIlory’s only win in 2013 came late in the season at the Australian Open but he has a great record in Abu Dhabi apart from last year when he missed the cut during a start to the year which he would rather forget. Now with much of his confidence back he can win this week.
Mickelson has developed into a world player now and although he has managed only a 37th place in his only start in the event he proved last year with victories in Scotland that he is not the one dimensional golfer many felt was the case previously.
Stenson finished runner-up at this venue on a couple of occasions earlier in his career but not so well of late. He is in such great form now however that no-one would be surprised if he carried on with it.
Jamie Donaldson is the defending champion and is a much improved player in recent times.
Australians in the field are Brett Rumford, Marcus Fraser, Richard Green and Wade Ormsby, Rumford finishing 10th last week in Durban, Green often playing well in these regions and Ormsby returning to the European Tour after regaining his card at last November’s Tour School.