Abu Dhabi: Player In Focus Jason Dufner

By Les Bailey
Jason Dufner
Joshua S. Kelly-US PRESSWIRE

Jason Dufner will be one of only three Americans that will tee it up in Abu Dhabi this week for the HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship that is being played at the Abu Dhabi Golf Course. The other two are of course, Tiger Woods, and Todd Hamilton. Dufner will be on the first tee at 7:30 AM local time with South African Branden Grace, and Ryder Cup opponent, Francesco Molinari.

The 36 year old graduate from Auburn University is currently 11th in World Golf Rankings, and enjoys playing abroad in different countries, and against world class players. After playing in the PGA season opener at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions he has made the trip to the far east where he will play two tournaments that include next week’s tournament in Qatar.

Dufner’s last two outings abroad on the European Tour included the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, and the ISPS Handa Perth International in Australia where he finished runner-up in both tournaments, losing to countryman Bo Van Pelt in Australia. Dufner said: “Growing up, I’ve seen a lot of guys come over and play on different Tours and compete all around the world. I just felt like a lot of those guys were kind of the upper echelon of players, and felt that was maybe something I would want to do.

“We’re pretty spoiled in the US. We only really play in one country and people are pretty focused on the US PGA Tour, but there are a lot of other Tours and a lot of other great events around the world which are going on.”

Dufner also revealed he would like to see more of his fellow Americans joining him in crossing the Atlantic to test themselves against the cream of European, and indeed world golf.

The Abu Dhabi Championship will get underway Thursday morning, with Golf Channel coverage beginning on Wednesday evening at 10:00PM Eastern Time. The tournament will feature the 2013 debut of World Number one, Rory McIlroy, and Number two, Tiger Woods in marquee pairing with three time Abu Dhabi champion Martin Kaymer. At just over 7800 yards, the golf course should be a stern test for McIlroy, and his new Nike equipment.

The total purse at Abu Dhabi is$2.7 Million Dollars, and Robert Rock is the defending champion. Rock beat Tiger Woods head-to-head  in the final round last year, and McIlroy by one stroke. It was undoubtedly the biggest victory of his career.

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