What’s On previews the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, with the help of our friends from Golf Digest ME. See the latest golf viral video.
German Martin Kaymer first won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship back in 2008 at the age of 23. Two years later he edged an exciting duel with Ian Poulter to land his second title, before completing his hat trick in 2011 on his way to becoming world No 1. He’ll try to snatch his fourth Falcon Trophy in January.
He recalls how nerves on the last day of the tournament in 2008 almost derailed his victory. “I was scared to win, but I managed to come through it. I didn’t know what to do. Halfway through the back nine, my mind was wandering to my speech. I’d never done it before at that level. I was leading by four or five shots, and I almost blew it with a combination of bad shots and a bad mind set. Luckily, no one put too much pressure on me. I learned a lot from that and it was a great way to start my career.”
Kaymer admits it would be special to win the tenth anniversary event in Abu Dhabi. “I haven’t won there since 2011, and I haven’t played that well there since then. This year I will prepare a little bit differently.”
The serious business starts on Thursday morning, but before that, four of the world’s top 10 squeezed in an unexpected spot of short game practice in a unique ‘pitch n’ paddle’ challenge on Yas Island.
Firing biodegradable ‘fish food’ balls from a jetty against a backdrop of mangroves between the ninth and 18th holes of Yas Links Abu Dhabi, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler paired up to take on Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose.
For a something a little more serious and considered, we asked our friends at Golf Digest Middle East for a preview of the big event.
January 15 to 18
Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Sas Al Nakhl, Abu Dhabi, Dhs50. Tel: (02) 5588990. Taxi: Abu Dhabi Golf Club. abudhabigolfchampionship.com/