Altvater: Woods opens season with ‘drama in the desert’Written by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Tiger Woods is playing in his first tournament of 2012 this week. The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship a European Tour event offered Tiger a huge appearance fee to show up and play a little golf.’
Players 1-4 on the Official World Golf Ranking — Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, and Martin Kaymer — are also in the field. You know Woods wants to overtake these guys and regain his No. 1 world ranking.
Because of the strength of the field, huge OWGR points are available. A win could move Woods up into the top 10.
Donald stirred up a small controversy recently when he said that McIlroy had the most talent of any golfer. Anyone want to bet Woods heard that?
“El Tigre” even played a practice round on Tuesday with McIlroy. Was Woods making nice and just being one of the boys, seeing what Donald’s “most talented player in the world” looks like up close and personal? Or was he the calculated hunter assessing his prey before the real hunt begins?
Woods, ranked No. 25 in the world, is paired on Thursday and Friday with OWGR No. 1 Donald and No. 3 McIlroy. I wonder how No. 2 Westwood feels about being left out of that illustrious grouping?
This pairing may actually be a good thing for Westwood, however. While Donald and McIlroy deal with all of the crowd movement and hysteria surrounding Woods, he can just go about his business in relative peace and quiet. Westwood can also use the tournament committee’s obvious slight for a little motivation to win the event.
First class field, great golf course, nice appearance fee, some controversy and lots of media coverage. The Abu Dhabi HSBC has all the ingredients necessary to make a very interesting weekend of golf watching.
This is a perfect setting for Woods to make a profound statement to the golf world that he is back and ready to resume his rightful place as “the Best Player in the World.”
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