Dubai: When the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters Challenge Match tees off at the Emirates Golf Club's par-3 course on Monday, all eyes will be on Michelle Wie, the golfer many thought has the potential to equal Tiger Woods' achievements on the women's circuit.
The young American superstar arrived in the city and has been paired with fellow Solheim Cup player Christina Kim in the traditional curtain-raiser to the Ladies European Tour's end-of-season 500,000-euro (Dh2.7 million) event.
Wie flew into the city on Saturday after a long-haul flight from San Francisco and a few hours later she was on the driving range at the Emirates Golf Club, going through her paces.
A true crowd-puller in the women's game, the 20 year old enjoyed a successful rookie season on the LPGA Tour, where she played a key role in the US team's Solheim Cup victory.
Wie seems to be in form in 2009. She ended her long trophy wait when she claimed the 2009 LPGA Lorena Ochoa Invitational trophy at Guadalajara Country in Mexico, her first win in 65 tournaments after the Takefuji Classic in 2002, when she was only 13.
"I am very excited about making my first trip to Dubai and playing in the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters," said Wie after formally being introduced to Mohammad Juma Bu Amim, vice-chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi, the promoters and organisers of the event.
"This season was a very rewarding one for me, both on the golf course and off, and I'd love nothing more than to wrap this year up with a strong showing at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters."
The Challenge match features eight marquee players who will battle it out for honours in the greensomes format — in which players play alternate shots with the same ball — at the par-27 course.