Tiger to lead stellar field in Dubai

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iol spt jan5 Tiger Getty Images Tiger Woods will join 20 other former champions to mark the 25th anniversary of the Dubai Desert Classic later this month. Photo by Rob Carr

Dubai – Tiger Woods will join 20 other former champions to mark the 25th anniversary of the Dubai Desert Classic later this month, the leading event official said Saturday.

Woods will also be joined by Javier Ballesteros who will represent his late father Seve at the event commencing on January 30 at the Emirates Club.

Woods is a two-time former Dubai Desert Classic winner and has been enticed to Dubai to compete for a first occasion since 2011

after teeing up the past two years in nearby Abu Dhabi.

“Anyone who has ever visited Emirates Golf Club, and I mean kings, queens, presidents or prime ministers, no one attracts more attention coming here than Tiger Woods,” said tournament director, Adrian Flaherty.

“Tiger just brings an extra attraction three-fold, four-fold and with ticket sales already are up four times than compared to recent years, and it's just a fact that he raises the excitement in the tournament more than anyone else.”

At this stage the 25th Dubai Desert Classic will be Woods' only regular European Tour appearance in 2014 although the 14-time major champion is expected to return to compete in the season's penultimate Turkish Airlines Open to honour the second year of his two year contract to compete in Turkey.

Woods will join fellow Dubai past winners and major champions Ernie Els, Mark O'Meara, Jose Maria Olazabal, Fred Couples and the newly-engaged Rory McIlroy competing in Dubai.

Seve Ballesteros won the 1992 tournament by defeating Northern Irishman Ronan Rafferty in a play-off.

“The great thing is that while Seve sadly passed away his name will live on as Javier will have a caddy wearing the name 'Ballesteros' on his caddy bib and hopefully we will see the 'Ballesteros' name up on the leader board,” added Flaherty. – Sapa-AFP


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