Abu Dhabi Golf Championship

Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk
Rory McIlroy has a great record in the United Arab Emirates. Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk
World number one Rory McIlroy  begins his 2013 season at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championships starting on Thursday, and will be confident of performing well at a venue that he has previously performed well at. Despite failing to win at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, the Northern Irishman has finished in the top five at all four visits to the course and was runner-up here in 2012 and 2011. His record in the United Arab Emirates overall is excellent, having won the Dubai Desert Classic in 2009 and the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates Earth Course in November last year.

The other big name drawcard at the event is 14 time major winner Tiger Woods , who has been paired with McIlroy for the opening two days. Woods was tied for the lead going into the final round here twelve months ago but could only manage a par round of 72 and faded to finish in a tie for third. While he does have strong form in the UAE dating back to his Dubai Desert Classic wins in 2006 and 2008, the 37 year-old hasn’t win since July 1 last year after taking three tournament wins in the first half of 2012.

Martin Kaymer  undoubtedly has the best course form of any player in the field this week. Prior to missing the cut here in 2012, the German had three wins and a 2nd from five starts at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Last year’s winner Robert Rock  is also in the field, as is world number five Justin Rose .

Keith Horne  has twice led this event after the opening day and is a big price to be round one leader again this time around.

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