Tom Watson plays his first Omega Dubai Desert Classic with one thing on his mind – winning.
The 60 year old American, who came close to a fairytale ending with his play-off defeat to Stewart Cink in The Open Championship at Turnberry, admits he faces a tough task at Emirates Golf Club.
But Watson, an eight-time Major Championship winner, says his desire to win tournaments has not diminished in the slightest.
“I judge my year on if I win a golf tournament," said Watson. "Very simple, and if I win a golf tournament, it's been a success just a cut above. Even if I played lousy and I still won a golf tournament, that's what I'm out here to do is still beat everybody. That's when I get my jollies.
“I'm at a disadvantage here - time change, first of all. I'm tired right now, I was wide awake at two o'clock this morning.
“I had not played this golf course. Other players have played it Mark O'Meara has played it 12 times. They know the golf course, they know the breaks in the greens and they know the grain in the greens and they know how the wind is most likely to come off the ocean at 11 o'clock in the morning. They know how this course plays.”
Watson admits he was disappointed not to produce the victory which would have gone down as one of the greatest sporting moments of all time at Turnberry, but has warned that he does not have as much going in his favour this week.
“Like I said at Turnberry, I had a home course advantage,” he added. “And I'm at a disadvantage this week, not on the time and playing a brand new golf course.
“I have to say, it's pretty straightforward how to play this golf course. You put the ball in the fairway, you have a chance. But there are always the idiosyncrasies of the certain shots that you have to play to, say, the 15th green that maybe I just don't know and other players do know.”
Standing between Watson and victory this week are some familiar adversaries – 2004 winner Mark O’Meara and former PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel are both over from the United States, while last week’s winner Robert Karlsson heads a strong European challenge that also includes Rory McIlroy, who is 40 years younger than Watson.
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