PGA European - The Abu Dhabi Golf Championship Preview
From The Sports Network
|DATES: Thursday, January 15th through Sunday, January 18th|
|SITE: Abu Dhabi Golf Club (National Course), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates|
|COURSE ARCHITECT: Peter Harradine (1998)|
|Hole-By-Hole:||1 - Par 4 405 Yds||10 - Par 5 554 Yds|
|2 - Par 5 600 Yds||11 - Par 4 417 Yds|
|3 - Par 4 429 Yds||12 - Par 3 186 Yds|
|4 - Par 3 174 Yds||13 - Par 4 414 Yds|
|5 - Par 4 469 Yds||14 - Par 4 478 Yds|
|6 - Par 4 454 Yds||15 - Par 3 177 Yds|
|7 - Par 3 200 Yds||16 - Par 4 475 Yds|
|8 - Par 5 572 Yds||17 - Par 4 483 Yds|
|9 - Par 4 456 Yds||18 - Par 5 557 Yds|
|36 3,759 Yds||36 3,741 Yds|
|Annual: || 4th|
|Television: || Golf Channel - Thursday/Sunday -- 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (et) -|
| || taped|
|Defending Champion: || Martin Kaymer|
|Runner-Up: || Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood|
|Tournament Record: || 268 (Chris DiMarco, 2006)|
|54-Hole Record: || 199 (Martin Kaymer, 2008)|
|36-Hole Record: || 131 (Martin Kaymer, 2008)|
|Course Record: || 62 (Henrik Stenson, 2006)|
|Total Purse: || $2,000,000|
|Shares: || 1st Place - $323,691; 2nd Place - $215,793; 3rd Place - $121,591|
|Martin Kaymer||273||Richard Finch||278|
|Henrik Stenson||277||James Kingston||279|
|Lee Westwood||277||Scott Strange||279|
|Ignacio Garrido||278||Paul McGinley||280|
|Peter Hedblom||278||Ian Poulter||280|
|Past Abu Dhabi Golf Championship Winners|
|Year||Winner (Score) -- Runners-Up|
|2008||Martin Kaymer (273) -- Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood|
|2007||Paul Casey (271) -- Peter Hanson, Miguel Angel Jimenez|
|2006||Chris DiMarco (268) -- Henrik Stenson|
|Top Contenders in the Field|
|Miguel A. Jimenez||5th||T-2||T-43|
|Magnus A. Carlsson||---||---||mc|
|Jeev Milkha Singh||---||---||mc|
|Sports Network Selections|
|Pick to Win - Sergio Garcia|
|Darkhorse - Oliver Wilson|
|Last Week's Pick to Win (Richard Sterne) - Finished tied for 12th|
|Last Week's Darkhorse (Chris Wood) - Finished tied for 65th|
The European Tour travels to the United Arab Emirates this week for the fourth
year of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, which boasts an outstanding field.
Eight of the top-30 players in the world are scheduled to compete, led by
world No. 2 Sergio Garcia and world No. 3, British Open and PGA Championship
winner Padraig Harrington. Other top-ranked players teeing it up are Henrik
Stenson (12), Masters champion Trevor Immelman (20), Miguel Angel Jimenez
(23), defending champion Martin Kaymer (25), Robert Allenby (26) and Ross
Fisher (29). Seven players from the 2008 European Ryder Cup team are playing
this week. Garcia has finished in the top four in his last four tournaments,
including wins at the Castello Masters Costa Azahar and the HSBC Champions.
The 120-player field contains 89 players who have won on the European Tour
International Schedule, with a total of 266 European Tour titles between them.
Last year, despite a two-over 74 in the final round, Martin Kaymer walked away
with his first European Tour title as he captured the Abu Dhabi Golf
Championship. Kaymer entered the final round with a six-shot lead following
rounds of 66-65-68, but three straight bogeys on the front nine cut into that
lead. Later, his lead was down to two after he bogeyed the 12th. However, his
closest foes dropped shots late and Kaymer closed with a birdie to complete
the four-shot win at 15-under-par 273. Lee Westwood and Stenson were both
within two shots on the back nine, but finished four back at minus-11.
Westwood bogeyed the last to drop to minus-11, while Stenson dropped a shot on
16 before parring the last two holes. Kaymer established new 36-hole (131) and
54-hole (199) scoring records. He also won the BMW International Open last
year for his second career win.
Kaymer became the youngest German winner in European Tour history at 23 years
and 24 days old. Bernhard Langer previously was the youngest German to win at
23 years and 38 days old when he won the 1980 Dunlop Masters.
In 2007, Paul Casey's only bogey in the final round came at the 18th hole, but
it didn't keep him from winning. Casey closed with a seven-under 65 in the
final round, his best score of the week, and beat Miguel Angel Jimenez and
Peter Hanson by one shot for his eighth career European Tour win. Casey
finished at 17-under-par 271. Casey has not claimed a victory since he won
this event in 2007. He had won European Tour events in three consecutive
seasons until 2008.
In 2006, American Chris DiMarco shot 63-67 over the final two rounds with his
wife, Amy, as his caddy to win the tournament. DiMarco finished the event at
20-under-par 268 for his first win on the European Tour. It was the first
European Tour event DiMarco played outside the four major championships and
the World Golf Championship events. It was also his first win anywhere since
the 2002 Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour.
Abu Dhabi Golf Club will measure 7,500 yards this year, making it the second-
longest course in European Tour history outside of the major championships.
Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club's East Course, site of the Joburg
Open, is the longest at 7,590 yards.
The lone ace in tournament history came in 2006, when Darren Fichardt made a
hole-in-one on No. 4 during round two.
This is the first of a three-week stay in the Gulf for the European Tour,
followed by the Commercialbank Qatar Masters and the Dubai Desert Classic.
Adam Scott won the title last year in Qatar.
01/13 14:23:48 ET
As of January 13, 2009, at 02:23 PM ET