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Stars seek to stay in their own orbit at Majlis course

Westwood, Kaymer and Woods will also have an eye on their rankings

Holes and sand traps
Image Credit: Asghar Khan/Gulf News Archive
An aerial view of the Emirates Golf Club.
Gulf News

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.

Impressive line-up

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