Dubai: The 22nd Dubai Desert Classic takes place at Emirates Golf Club's par 72, 7301 yard, Majlis Course from today, boasting an all-star line-up headed by the resurgent Tiger Woods.
From the first tee today, the top three in the world rankings Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Tiger Woods will all head out with the intention of not only winning the tournament but also leapfrogging one another in the world's best stakes.
This is the first time a "World's top three" have all played in a regular European Tour event since the 1994 Johnnie Walker Classic, where Greg Norman, Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer were the podium players of their day.
Woods' involvement at this testing juncture in his career, since the return from his sabbatical, also compounds upon the growing number of reasons to follow this event.
If he can record a comeback win, his first since 2009, he may not only overtake Kaymer for the second spot in the rankings but also complete a hat-trick of Desert Classic victories (2006, 2008) to equal Ernie Els' most-wins record at this event (1994, 2002, 2005).
Of course, this is also the eighth event in the current 51-stage European Tour for 2011 and just the beginning of the road for November's Race to Dubai year-ender — the next time a major event will return to our shores, after what's been four weeks of thrilling Desert Swing action first in Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain and now lastly Dubai.
Past winners still in the field other than Tiger include; Miguel Angel Jimenez (2010), Rory McIlroy (2009), Henrik Stenson (2007), Mark O'Meara (2004), Robert Jan Derksen (2003), Thomas Bjorn (2001), David Howell (1999), Jose Maria Olazabal (1998) and Colin Montgomerie (1996).
This means there are plenty with the relevant experience to pick up a result.
Using the Race to Dubai tables as form, the likes of South Africa's Charl Schwartzel also can't be ruled out. Currently first in the Order of Merit, he's recorded tied for second at the Alfred Dunhill, fourth in the South African Open, tied for fourth in the Africa Open a win in the Joburg Open and tied for eighth in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
With such strong form heading in it would be unwise to rule out Schwartzel as contender also.
Tee times for Dubai Desert Classic
Tee Time Player1 Player2 Player3
1 11:30 CEVAER Christian LEVET Thomas NILSSON Christian
1 11:40 KIM Do-hoon LEE Danny STRANGE Scott
1 11:50 STERNE Richard RAMSAY Richie WIEGELE Martin
1 12:00 ANDERSSON HED Fredrik O’MEARA Mark NOH Seung-yul
1 12:10 HORSEY David HANSON Peter LAWRIE Paul
1 12:20 WESTWOOD Lee WOODS Tiger KAYMER Martin
1 12:30 FISHER Ross QUIROS Alvaro GREEN Richard
1 12:40 HANSEN Anders OLAZÁBAL José Maria MONTGOMERIE Colin
1 12:50 JAIDEE Thongchai CABRERA-BELLO Rafael MARTIN Pablo
1 13:00 AIKEN Thomas SINGH Jeev Milkha KHAN Simon
1 13:10 VELASCO Alvaro WARREN Marc OLESEN Thorbjorn
1 13:20 NICOLL Callum WHITEFORD Peter HAASTRUP Mark F
10 11:30 HULDAHL Jeppe JONZON Michael WALL Anthony
10 11:40 BROADHURST Paul FASTH Niclas BROWN Mark
10 11:50 DUBUISSON Victor LAWRIE Peter LARA José Manuel
10 12:00 BICKERTON John HENNINGSSON Oskar MAYBIN Gareth
10 12:10 FINCH Richard DRYSDALE David KANG Anthony
10 12:20 DOUGHERTY Nick MCGRANE Damien DONALDSON Jamie
10 12:30 COLSAERTS Nicolas ROCK Robert CAMPBELL Michael
10 12:40 STORM Graeme LYNN David CURTIS Ben
10 12:50 McGOWAN Ross DREDGE Bradley DERKSEN Robert-Jan
10 13:00 SIEM Marcel DODD Stephen BOURDY Grégory
10 13:10 WARING Paul HOEY Michael LANE Barry
10 13:20 BAIN Ross BLAND Richard BENSON Seve