Dubai Desert Classic 2011 and Tiger Woods

The eyes of the golfing world will be on Tiger Woods from today as he tees up for this week’s Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.
The former world number one has never finished outside the top five in five starts in Dubai. But, after finishing just 44th at Torrey Pines two weeks ago, the American won’t be as confident as usual standing on the first tee.
Woods is not even favourite to win this week, with that honour going to Martin Kaymer, who has a chance of taking top spot in the rankings this weekend.
The 7,301-yard Emirates course is recognised as one of the finest in the Gulf and requires players to plot their way round, employing a blend of power and accuracy. That especially applies at the par four ninth hole, which at 463-yards and with water all down the left-hand side, is tricky to say the least. Just ask Martin Kaymer. He played it in five over par last year!

Dubai Desert Classic 2011 and Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods.

With the weather still miserable in the UK and the European Tour’s Middle East swing just about to conclude at the Dubai Desert Classic, travelled to Dubai to sample a golfing trip in the sun.
Traditionally, sun-seeking golfers from the UK and northern Europe jet off to southern Spain or Portugal for their winter break. But now Dubai is a major player in the market given increased flights to the gulf and more affordable accommodation packages.
We hacked up the Earth Course, which hosted the Dubai World Championship, the Majlis Course which stages the Dubai Desert Classic and the Dubai Creek course.
Thanks to local airline Emirates, who are keen to push their golfing trips to the region with free carriage of golf clubs on their aircrafts, jetted out to sample three of the best courses on offer in Dubai.
In a blatant attempt to prize a good review out of us hard-nosed hacks, a business class flight over on the new double-decker A380 aircraft was supplied, and unsurprisingly it worked! As we all arrived in great spirits and ready to test out the best the Persian Gulf had to offer.

The continent is different but as Tiger Woods looked ahead to his first competitive round outside the United States of the 2011 season the erstwhile behemoth of professional golf was reading from the same old script.
“To win” – he said when asked about his hopes for Dubai Desert Classic. “That’s why I tee it up. If I’m in the event, it’s to win. That’s just plain and simple. I don’t always win. I’ve certainly lost a lot more tournaments than I’ve won. But it’s the goal every week you tee it up and that doesn’t change.”
Of course Woods would say that on the eve of an event (most top-class golfers do so, publicly at least), but is fair to say the 14-times major champion once uttered his oh-so-familiar mantra with a little more conviction. Fifteen months without a victory and countless blows to professional and personal pride, not least in the rash of former sponsors who have disassociated themselves from their once-gilded pitchman, have had their effect.
So, too, has Woods’s last competitive appearance, two weeks ago at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, a tournament he had traditionally used to remind his peers of his superiority at the start of every season.

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