Josh Hill and Ahmad Skaik got a round in at Yas Links
Josh Hill and Ahmad Skaik got a round in at Yas Links Image Credit: Supplied

I registered with the DP World Tour Tournament Office on Monday for my accreditation and Tuesday was my final practice round.

I played 18 holes with my good friend, UAE national Ahmad Skaik, who is also competing at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week. We played as a two-ball, so it was a nice, friendly and relaxed round, where we were both able to try a few more shots from various locations from fairways, the rough and especially around and on the greens.

The wind was a lot calmer, but still in the same direction as Monday, downwind on the first hole as well as the driving range.

With the continued winds, the fairways seem to be getting faster and firmer and I expect that to continue during the week.

Hopefully, this will give me a slight edge as I have played Yas Links so many times with different winds and throughout the year. I am hearing that the wind may switch for the tournament, but do we trust all the weather forecasts in this part of the world, with the apparent microclimates in Abu Dhabi and around the UAE? Let’s wait and see. It is out of my control, so I will take what is before me on the day.

I am pretty happy with my all-round game and my caddie Pete and I really focused on golf course strategy on Tuesday and reflected after the round that we were hitting the right shots with the right shape at the right time.

After the round, I hit three drives on the range which I was happy about and then returned to the hotel.

Then I received what I was waiting for at the end of the day. The first-round draw for Thursday has been published.

I am off at 8.50am from the 10th tee with France’s Victor Dubuisson and Scotland’s David Drysdale.

The Pro-Am is being played on Wednesday. As mentioned previously, I will be at the golf course in and around the range, but nothing too strenuous is on the agenda, either physically or mentally. I will be in the hotel gym for around an hour, to work primarily on flexibility and not strength.

Again, on Thursday I will be in the gym in the morning for around 45 minutes. This is my tournament routine, that I have found works best for me.

I now feel tournament ready. I understand the final Covid protocol is to have a PCR test on Wednesday afternoon and then, fingers crossed, we are good to go.

The tournament and the Abu Dhabi authorities have just told all players and officials that a PCR test with 96 hours validity is required to come to the tournament, amended from 48 hours. I hope to see some friends drive up from Dubai to watch, this change in policy will make it a lot easier to travel. It is free entry as long as you preregister.

I am off now for a rest and evening meal and prepare for tomorrow.