McIlroy, Woods and Rose Set For Abu Dhabi Golf Championship
By Jake O'Reilly
15 January 2013 12:55
New Nike posterboy Rory McIlroy has taken a break from his busy schedule to meet a camel and drink some coffee.
Under the watchful eye of a 'Hero', the defending Race to Dubai champion, accompanied by 14 time major winner Tiger Woods and world number five Justin Rose, joined locals for a traditional coffee pouring ceremony ahead of the HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.
The trio are some of the leading names among a high-class field at Abu Dhabi Golf Club for this week’s $2.7 million event.
World number one McIlroy said: “I get a real buzz playing golf in the Emirates and enjoy getting a taste of local culture – we always receive a warm welcome in the Middle East which is becoming increasingly important in world golf.”
Woods, who finished tied third in last year’s event, added: “My season starts here and I can’t wait to get going. It’s another world class field here in Abu Dhabi and it’s going to be a tough week – whoever wins is going to have to play very well.”
Rose agreed, saying: “This is my Abu Dhabi debut but I’ve heard a lot about this event from the other guys on tour and I’m looking to make a flying start to the year.”
HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship and Events, Giles Morgan, said: “The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is our flagship event in the Middle East and it’s important for our global golf portfolio to start the golfing year with such a star-studded field.
“We know the players enjoy experiencing local culture and I’m sure a taste of traditional hospitality will give them a great start to the week. This event has become the jewel in the crown of the Desert Swing and it promises to be another superb tournament.”
In addition to McIlroy, Woods and Rose, Open champion Ernie Els is contesting the Championship for the first time, while Jason Dufner will also make his debut in Abu Dhabi.
Martin Kaymer is also seaching for his fourth win in the event, while Paul Casey is eyeing a third title. Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and defending champion Robert Rock are also in the field.