European Tour Returns To Dubai For The Omega Desert Classic

By Les Bailey
Brian Spurlock-US Presswire

The European Tour makes it’s final stop in the desert at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic this week, before returning to the South Africa area next weekend. The Dubai Desert Classic is played down the road from the Jumeriah Estates at the Emirates Golf Course. The course was designed by Karl Litten, and opened in 1988, and features a stunning background with the city of Dubai draped in the background.

Lee Westwood makes his 2013 debut in Dubai this weekend, the 39-year old has an enviable record at the Emirates Golf Club, taking the runner-up spot three times, in 1999, 2010 and 2012, and amassing a total of seven top-ten finishes. But, in 19 appearances, he has yet to pick up the trophy. He has indicated he has played more this off-season than in the past, Westwood has come close to victory over the Majlis course on several occasions, and admits he would love to go one better this time.

Westwood has moved lock-stock-and barrel to Florida where he can practice during the winter. Lee is getting his game in shape to make a run at his first major championship, I think he is tired of being a bridesmaid, and is looking to secure that part of his legacy before father time catches up with him.

Sergio Garcia is coming back to Dubai to avenge his loss last week to Chris Wood in Qatar. This will be Garcia’s second appearance in 2013, as he looks to be a man on a mission this year. He is playing as well as I’ve seen from him since his 1999 season. He looks to have his putter and short game working to augment the power game he has always had.

After his maiden win on the European Tour last week, Chris Wood has moved up to fourth in Race To Dubai points, and is listed as being in 60th place in World Golf Rankings. He will be looking to build on his momentum this week in Dubai in an effort to get his ranking down inside the the comfort area below 50.

As the season gets into full stride, look for a good performance this week from Paul Casey and Henrik Stenson. Stenson won this tournament in 2007 when he beat three time Desert Classic Champion, Ernie Els by one stroke. Stenson is another man with an excellent record over the Majlis, having amassed a further four top-tens in 12 previous appearances at the Emirates Golf Club. Casey has won 11 time on the European Tour, and has not missed a cut since October.

World Number one, Rory McIlroy won his first pro tournament here, but will not be in the field this weekend.

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