2013 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Preview: Leaderboard

Tiger Woods Rory McIlroy Together Steady Large

THOSE who began to suspect Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods were going steady last year will have further fuel for their fires this week when the pair have their first golfing outing together in “matching” outfits.

The new Nike “twins” will be playing together for at least the first two rounds of the 2013 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, beginning Thursday Australian time.

McIlroy will have a new set of clubs, including a new Nike putter, and the familiar Jumeirah cap will be gone in favour of one featuring the sponsor’s “Swoosh”. (McIlroy’s huge Nike deal)

The Abu Dhabi Golf Club showdown will be the first of a number of anticipated confrontations this year between the world’s currently top two ranked golfers.

Frivolous suggestions aside, Woods this week was reluctant to become too embroiled in promoting a two-man show.

“Rory McIlroy had a wonderful year, and my hat is off to him. He deserved Player of the Year,” Woods told golf writers in Abu Dhabi.

“Whether we develop a rivalry remains to be seen. Let’s just let it play out and see where it takes us,” he said.

“We’ll have to win big events and play each other down the stretch. That hasn’t happened yet. We’ve only played each other at the Honda [tournament] down the stretch. We need a lot more of those types of battles, but in bigger events.”

Woods in no way could be said to be back to his best but has still managed to reach the world No.2 spot behind his young rival.

After his five wins and second Major last year, 23 year old McIlroy was itching to get back to business.

“I’ve had a nice break over Christmas and the New Year, but it’s back to business now,” the Northern Irishman said.

“This is the sixth time I will have played the tournament, and I’ve always done pretty well here in the past.

“In the last four years, I have had two second-place finishes, a third and a fifth, so I know it’s a golf course that really suits my game.

“Last year was obviously an amazing season for me and it’s going to be tough to top it, but I feel refreshed and excited about the year ahead.”

Their “chaperone” for the first two rounds and the third golfer in their grouping is the uncompromising Martin Kaymer.

“I’m coming here to a golf course that I really like and have been successful on; that I never really have to play against my feel, which is very rare on golf courses where you go and you can really feel very comfortable,” the three time winner of the event said.

Other contenders include America’s Jason Dufner, Englishman Justin Rose and South Africa’s Ernie Els.

There are four Aussies taking part including Marcus Fraser, Richard Green, Andrew Dodt and Brett Rumford.

Defending champion is the always hatless Englishman Robert Rock. If there is any justice, Rock will eventually be the one on the European Senior Tour with (most of) the wrinkles.

2013 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Australian TV Times

The event is being screened live on Fox Sports Thursday to Sunday 8pm – 12pm, with the usual repeats.

2013 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Leaderboard

2013 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Leaderboard


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Brian is an award winning golf writer and is the founder and editor of Australian Senior Golfer. He is a former Sydney journalist who had little interest in golf till he hit his first ball at the age of 49 (and a half). Since then golf has just about overtaken his life. Brian founded ASG in April 2008 and has since covered every Australian Open, Presidents Cups, World Cups and numerous other big men’s and women’s tournaments, spending days inside the ropes with the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Tom Watson, Fred Couples, Greg Norman, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Karrie Webb, and many others. He has also played in, and reported on, numerous amateur tournaments, particularly senior and veteran events, around the country. Brian is a member of the Australian Golf Media Association and won the award for Best News Report for 2016 - 2017

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