Rory McIlroy last night opened the new standalone Nike Golf store in Dubai Mall with a less than traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The star golfer is in town to take part in the 25th anniversary Dubai Desert Classic, but took time away from the range to putt his way into the shop, much to the delight of the gathering crowd.

The Northern Irishman, who won his first pro title in Dubai at Emirates Golf Club while still a teenager in 1999, had spoken earlier in the week of his affections for Dubai, referring to it as “a special place and somewhere I call my ‘home from home’. That affinity stemmed from my time here as an amateur and has stayed with me ever since. Having always felt welcome here helped form the decision I made a number of years ago to make Dubai the hub of my pre-season preparation.”

After his initial stunt, McIlroy, who recently became engaged to Danish tennis queen Caroline Wozniacki, signed memorabilia for waiting fans and answered a few questions from the media.

Looking ahead to the tournament this week, which starts on Thursday and features Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and many others, he said he hoped to continue his good form from the start of the year after a difficult 2013.

“I have started off the year well,” he said. “I was a little disappointed coming off the second place in Abu Dhabi. I felt like I should have won but there were a lot of positives to take from the week. I played very well. I felt like I could have done a few things better which I have worked on over the last week to go into this tournament in Dubai but all in all I am in a good place and really looking forward to 2014.

“Wedge play has been a big thing. I have added that extra wedge into my bag instead of a three-iron. I figured the distance I am hitting the ball just now, I am going to be hitting more wedges into greens than three-irons. To be able to give myself more variety from 150 yards in I have added that extra wedge. I just thought if I could have got my wedges a little closer in Abu Dhabi, it would have made a difference.”

The new Nike Golf store features men’s, women’s and kids’ golfwear as well as the latest clubs, equipment and spikes. It is in Dubai Mall.