Tiger Woods (Getty Images)
World number one Tiger Woods has confirmed that he will be returning to Dubai to compete in the 2011 Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club, the promoters and organisers of the event have announced.
The 14-time Major Champion underlined his fondness for the city he calls “an extremely hospitable place where the people and the tournament organisers treat the players so well” by returning to an event where he has a superb record.
Since making his first visit to Dubai in 2001, Woods has won the event twice (2006 and 2008) and has finished no worse than a tied fifth place during his previous five appearances in the tournament.
Woods was due to defend his title in 2009, but reconstructive surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee forced him to miss the rest of the season after playing 91 holes on a wounded knee to win the 2008 US Open.
With 95 career wins under his belt since turning professional in 1996, Woods has top-four finishes in two of the three Major Championships this year and is looking forward to his Dubai trip from February 10-13, 2011.
“The level of competition has always been extremely high; so I know I’ll have to play my best golf if I’m going to regain my title,” said the American.
“It’s a great venue, the Majlis course is always in immaculate condition and the weather reminds me of back home in Florida.
"What they have done is phenomenal. I haven't seen anything like this and I don't think anyone anywhere around the world has seen this kind of growth. Golf is just one component of it. Since the time I have been coming over here, the skyline keeps changing, keeps evolving and the people keep coming here and thoroughly enjoy it,” he said.
"From the time I first came to play here in 2001, I wanted to be a part of this amazing vision.”
Woods showed exactly why he is the long term World Number One en route to winning the title in 2008. Starting his final round four strokes behind Ernie Els, Woods played his last nine holes in six under par to finish with a 66 for a winning total of 14-under-par 274.
Promoters 'golf in DUBAI' are equally delighted to welcome Woods back in Dubai.
"We are naturally delighted and proud that Tiger Woods has agreed to join us for the 2011 Omega Dubai Desert Classic,” said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, Vice-Chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAI.
“Having the world’s greatest golfer play in your event is something many tournament organisers dream of; so for us to be able to welcome him to the Majlis Course for the sixth time in 10 years is a major boost for golf in the Middle East, especially Dubai.
“With Tiger, who transcends all races, ages and gender, in the field, we are pretty confident that the 2011 Omega Dubai Desert Classic will create a buzz on the global stage, giving a fresh impetus to tourism in the city. After all, he's Tiger Woods for a reason,” he said.
“We are also looking forward to revealing other major names in the near future in line with the tournament’s tradition of showcasing the best possible field.”
'golf in DUBAi' is backed by Omega as the title sponsor and Dubal (Dubai Aluminium) as the sponsor while Gulf News, wasl, CNN, Dubai Duty Free and Carpetland are co-sponsors in its drive to showcase the emirate's vibrant golfing scene to a worldwide audience.