Tell you what, I nearly said ‘kicks off’, then. Hang on. Switch modes…zure-wep……golf-mode assimilation complete.
Good evening my little tee-totallers! It is the eve of the first golf tournament in the 2013 Race to Dubai. That’s right, luv-a-ducks, tomorrow we’re off to sunnier climes to follow the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Continuing where we left off last season, I’ll be posting my weekly team. Change of name, this year. Out goes Zebedeerox Teetotallers (because I think that describe you, dear readership, way better). Instead, we have Ten Tee 20 Vision.
Nike investment repayment begins in Abu Dhabi
No doubt Rory McIlroy will want to start paying Nike back some of that £80M sponsorship deal signed earlier this week. Can you believe that? He truly is among sport’s elite, now. And at 23. Wow!
What better way has Rory of proving his worth than in the pairing he’s been drawn with for the first two days in the U.A.E. – you couldn’t make it up.
Joining McIlroy on the first tee of what promises to be a spectacular golf season are none other than Tiger Woods and Martin Kaymer. And, yes, you’d be forgiven for thinking Woods is the main challenger to the OWGR number one. Think on.
Martin Kaymer, Rory’s Ryder Cup fellow team member (and indeed the golfer who sank the winning putt and the Yanks in one fell swoop on an amazing last day in Medinah last autumn) has won the Abu Dhabi Championship no less than thrice already.
The last time was in 2011, when he pipped a then 21-year old McIlroy to the title. Rory finished runner-up again last year, behind Robert Rock, and is hoping his new Nike golf clubs will take him one step further this year.
Rory McIlroy looking to “go one better” in U.A.E.
In an interview with the European Tour earlier this week, Rory underlines exactly why Martin Kaymer may well be the main threat again, this year:
It’s a place I have done well. I think one problem for me the last few years has been Martin Kaymer.
He’s played really well around here and won it a couple of times – three times I think – and I always came up second best.
It would be nice to go one better this week and obviously that’s what I’m aiming for.”
And he’s in the best company in the world to do just that. Last year, he partnered Tiger Woods not just for the first two, but first three rounds here at the National Golf Course in Abu Dhabi.
All that nonsense towards the end of last season about rivalry between the two was all in the minds of the media. Although, I can see a lot closer battle between Woods and McIlroy this season.
The winners are, of course, the golf fans. With Westwood, Rose, Poulter and Donald waiting in the wings with the English challenge the Race to Dubai, if not the OWGR, is going to be closer than ever.
You’d be silly not to put money on either Woods or McIlroy finishing on top of the pile, though. The Northern Irishman is way out in front points-wise; Tiger clawed a huge number back towards the latter half of 2012 to leapfrog Westwood then Donald to finish in number 2 spot in the official world golf rankings.
Woods & McIlroy Nike Golf Advert reflects mutual respect
And I know they didn’t film the new Nike Advert together, but you don’t need Rory to emphasise the respect he and Woods have for each other. If you’ve not seen the McIlroy/Woods/Nike Golf advert yet, here it is:
Coverage of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship begins in the wee hours of Thursday morning on SKY Sports 1/HD at 3:30am (GMT). Woods, McIlroy and Kaymer tee off at 7:40am (GMT).
Friday, we hop over to SKY Sports 2/HD and begin at 6:00am. Saturday and Sunday we’re on SKY Sports 3/HD, coverage starting at 9:00am and 8:00am respectively.
Over to you:
- Can Martin Kaymer win this event an astounding fourth time, or will one of his paired duo stop him?
- Who’s your tip for the Race to Dubai and/or OWGR top spot for 2013?
- And, £80M – is anyone worth that much in investment for their endorsement, really?
- Tiger Woods welcomes Rory McIlroy to the ‘family’ as they go head to head (guardian.co.uk)
- McIlroy, Woods among top-class field in Abu Dhabi (utsandiego.com)
About the author
Jason Darrell is UK National Media Manager for global TV network, FeckTV.com [UK]. The role includes writing the news in seven topics as well as spreading the word via Google+, Twitter, facebook and Pinterest amongst other social media (links to all through G+ profile/about).
A keen SEO copywriter, Jason has recently attained Google AuthorRank and is currently freelancing on oDesk, DoNanza and People Per Hour as a content SEO specialist, first-line manager and copywriter extraordinaire.