There was a huge buzz within the city’s golfing circles when Tiger Woods announced he’d be teeing off at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, which takes place from Thursday February 2 to Sunday 5.
The 14-time Major winner only returned to competitive action in December, at the Hero World Championships in the Bahamas, producing a fine putting display before falling away in the final round with a 76. But US Open champion Dustin Johnson believes a Woods resurgence would be a huge fillip for golf and that he could make his mark at Emirates Golf Club next month. “I suppose time will tell, but it would certainly be great for the game,” he tells us. “He was striking it well in the Bahamas and I think he had the most birdies in the field, which isn’t bad after a year-and-a-half off competitive golf.”
This will be the eighth time Woods has competed in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, making his debut back in 2000 and securing two nail-biting victories on the Majlis course in 2006 and 2008. “I’ve always enjoyed playing in Dubai and it’s fantastic to see how the city has grown phenomenally from when I first started playing there,” he says. “It was great winning in Dubai in 2006 and 2008. When you win in Dubai, you know you’ve beaten an outstanding field.”
Among the stars trying to thwart Woods as he bids for a third title here are 2016 Major winners Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett, the defending champion, as well as world No.2 Rory McIlroy (right). Such a line-up makes this a Classic not to be missed.
Dhs175 (day pass), Dhs675 (season pass). Feb 2-5, from 7am. Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Living, www.dubaidesertclassic.com (04 380 2112).