Mark O'Meara (EuropeanTour)
Two-time major winner Mark O’Meara will draw on memories of his landmark triumph in Dubai to try and roll back the years when he competes in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club from January 31 to February 3.
A long-time ‘golf in DUBAi’ ambassador, O’Meara found an extra spark in his game in 2004 to beat a strong field, led by the then World Number One Tiger Woods, to become the oldest winner of the longest-running European Tour event in the region, aged 47 years and 54 days.
Much water has passed under the bridge since that success, but 55-year-old O’Meara, now playing on the Champions Tour, insists he hasn’t lost his hunger to succeed at the top level.
“My health is good,” said O’Meara who boasts 34 professional wins worldwide, including 16 on the PGA Tour and two on the Champions Tour. "My family is great. I'm blessed to have played this game for a long time, and I'm still playing.
“I've only won twice since joining the Champions Tour in 2007, but I've had about 13 seconds, so I know how tough it is to win,” said O'Meara, who was named PGA Tour Player of the Year in 1998 after his victories in The Masters and The Open Championship that year. "I don't like finishing second, to be honest with you.
“As far as being competitive, that never changes. And it won’t until they put me in the grave.”
A man with a genial demeanour, O’Meara is now looking forward to competing in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic which has attracted the likes of former world number one Lee Westwood and defending champion Rafael Cabrera-Bello among other top draws.
“Being a 'golf in DUBAi’ ambassador, the tournament holds special significance for me,” said O’Meara. "Not only for me, I think all good players in the world love to come to Dubai and play in an event which is run so professionally. When you look at the list of the past ODDC champions, it is so impressive.
"What's happening out there in the UAE and particularly in Dubai is just so amazing to see," he said, referring to the fast-changing golfing landscape of the country.
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of 'golf in DUBAi', commented: "Mark is still a world-class player and we look forward to welcoming him back to Dubai. He may have been the oldest player to win the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at 47, but he still likes to be competitive which is great. I am sure, he can give the present generation of players a run for their money.
"Mark has always been a great friend of Dubai and we are proud to have him on board as our global ambassador."
'Golf in DUBAi' is backed by Omega as the title sponsor and DUBAL as the sponsor. The co-sponsors are: CNN, Drydocks World & Maritime World, Emirates NBD, Gulf News, Mercedes-Benz and wasl while Dubai Duty Free, Carpetland and Motivate are the Patrons in golf in DUBAi's drive to showcase the emirate's vibrant golfing scene to a worldwide audience.