- Breaking News
- Today's Paper
- Text Only
- Family Notices
Thursday, February 09, 2012
Rory McIlroy has contested the Omega Dubai Desert Classic more than any other major tour event in his career.
This week marks McIlroy’s seventh consecutive appearance since making his debut as a 16-year old on the Emirates course.
The US Open champion said: "Dubai is one of those places that I’ve always enjoyed coming back [to], and it is a time to reflect back on my last year.
"I couldn’t have imagined everything that was going to happen this time last year. It’s been great. Outside of the Majors, Dubai would be in my top three or four events on Tour.
McIlroy spent the past week working on his game at the Els Club course.
He was joined by girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki and travels with her to Doha next week for her Qatar Open appearance.
McIlroy also admitted to having ‘a little bit of showman inside me’.
"When you’re looking at a shot, and it’s almost like you’re trying to visualise a certain shot that may come off one in 20 times. If it does you’re thinking about what would Seve do," he laughed.
"Of course, you don’t want to be doing that on the third hole of a tournament but only if you need to make a par or a birdie to win on the last."
McIlroy will play the opening two rounds of the event in the company of England’s Robert Rock and Spain’s Alvaro Quiros.
Quiros thrilled local fans twice last year, winning the Dubai Desert Classic and the season-ending Dubai World Championship. And while Rock got the better of everyone in neighbouring Abu Dhabi, Quiros is quietly confident of keeping both McIlroy and Rock at bay.
"Rory and Robert are two nice guys but it won’t make it any easier because once you are on the golf course you don’t pay attention.
"There is no denying Rory is one of the best players we have at present and especially around this golf course, as we saw when he won in 2009. However, I will not be intimidated by Rory because there is no one in golf at the moment who intimidates me.
"All that matters at the end of the week is the scores and if it’s me who finishes in front on Sunday."
McIlroy is among six Irishmen in the field, which includes Antrim’s Michael Hoey, who has an outside chance of breaking into the top-66 on the world rankings and qualify for next fortnight’s WGC–Accenture Match-Play Championship.
© Irish Examiner Ltd, City Quarter, Lapps Quay, Cork. Registered in Ireland: 523712.