Best seat in the house as Willett paired with Woods

Best seat in the house as Willett paired with Woods
Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia obliges a female fan by agreeing to a selfie at the Emirates Golf Club.

By James Jose

Published: Tue 31 Jan 2017, 8:57 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Feb 2017, 3:51 PM

As Danny Willett prepares for the title defence of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Englishman will, no doubt, have the best seat in the house.
The Masters champion has been drawn with 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods for first two rounds of the event, which begins this weekend.
Willett had spoken fondly about his first memories of Woods, especially that chip shot on the 16th at Augusta in 2005, a moment which he has played in his mind over a million times.
And for Willett and many others, who were starting back then, it was an inspiration to try and emulate the man. "It's those moments I think he created for guys that are my kind of age. That really spurred us on to train harder and to practice harder and to try and accomplish even a miniscule amount of what he has," Willett at the Emirates Golf Club on Tuesday.
Willett will head out on the three-ball with Woods, winner here in 2006 and 2008, and Matthew Fitzpatrick, the DP World Tour Championship winner. They will tee off from the par-5 10th of the Majlis Course at 8.15am on Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, 2007 winner and two-time Race to Dubai champion Henrik Stenson has been paired with Spaniard Sergio Garcia and England's Tyrrell Hatton. The three-ball will tee off from the 10th at 8.05am
The 37-year-old Garcia, who has competed with Woods over the past decade or so, said that it was still up in air on how Woods' comeback would be. "We're excited about it," Garcia said on Woods returning for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
"We'll see at the end of the day. Everything is a little bit of a question mark just to see how he's going to respond physically and everything. So I guess we'll just have to wait and see," he added.
The Spaniard cautioned that it won't be the same Woods of 20 to 25 years ago in terms of his physical strength.
"If you mean like the way he played like in early 2000 and stuff like that, it is difficult. I think that he obviously, he's got a lot of qualities and he can obviously get to a high level. I think to get to that level is very difficult, even for him, because he's 40 now. So his body doesn't move the way it used to move when he was 20, 25.
"But we'll see. You know, like I said, I think everything is a little bit of a question mark for all of us, so you know, we'll see how it goes in the next, you know, four or five months," said the 37-year-old. Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, who won the title in 2001, will head off on the 10th tee along with Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke and Sweden's David Lingmerth, at 7.35am
Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello, the 2012 winner, has been paired with Englishmen Andy Sullivan and Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship champion Tommy Fleetwood. The three will tee off from the par-4 first at 12.25pm
Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Sullivan were involved in an interesting three-way battle with Willett on the final day last year.
Korea's Jeunghun Wang, who was on the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters last week, will head out along with Germany's Martin Kaymer and England's Lee Westwood, who lost in a play-off to Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez, in 2010.
It is an all-Indian three-ball with Dubai-based amateur Rayhan Thomas paired with Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chowrasia. They will tee off from the 10th at 8.35am.
Meanwhile, Australian Curtis Luck, who won the US Amateur Championship, has been paired with American Peter Uihlein and Scotland's Richie Ramsay.




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