Tiger Woods on the Dubai Desert Traditional to win it, says Danny Willett
The group gathered for a lunchtime driving vary session in Dubai supplied the newest indicator of Tiger Woods’s lingering attraction. He even offered extra to see than typical, having taken benefit of European Tour guidelines with a view to put on shorts.
The 40-year-old toppled out of the Farmers Insurance Open after 36 holes at Torrey Pines close to San Diego the earlier week however his arrival within the Center East for the Dubai Desert Traditional provides an additional dynamic to the European Tour occasion. Fellow gamers, together with the Masters champion Danny Willett, acknowledge that a lot.
“I watched just about each shot of his two rounds final week and it was simply nice seeing him again in motion,” Willett stated of Woods, who shot 76 and 72 on his return to the PGA Tour after an absence of 17 months with a again damage.
“After which to have him right here this week, I feel it’s nice for the European Tour; it’s nice for Dubai. It’s a spot he’s coming again to; Tiger doesn’t play occasions simply because he desires to play them. He performs occasions as a result of he is aware of he’s received a superb likelihood when he turns up. He has performed nicely round this course and he’s bought some good recollections.
“When Tiger is right here it makes issues that little bit further particular. He’s going to attempt to win. And I believe that’s nice for the European Tour to have, to have arguably the best participant of all time come to Dubai to attempt to take that championship trophy away on Sunday.
“There’s a couple of of us who’re going to attempt to cease him however it’s nice to have him again. It’s nice to have him again taking part in and it’s nice for the sport and thankfully sufficient I’ll be capable of be round all week to witness it.”
Willett can have Woods and Matthew Fitzpatrick for firm over the primary two rounds on the Emirates Membership. Woods has received this occasion twice with one other former main winner, Graeme McDowell, endorsing Willett’s sentiment of how outstanding the American may be.
“Tiger Woods is just not going to be again taking part in as many occasions as he’s if he’s not prepared,” McDowell stated. “He is likely one of the most mentally robust athletes I’ve ever seen enjoying any sport and I absolutely anticipate him of being succesful at competing on the excessive degree once more. It’s at all times enjoyable when Tiger is within the discipline. That strikes the needle considerably.”
Sergio García was not fairly as effusive. The Spaniard and the American have had a famously turbulent relationship however García welcomed his long-standing adversary to the steady of his sponsor TaylorMade. “We’re all professionals right here,” mentioned García. “I’m proud he selected to affix TaylorMade and clearly TaylorMade had been very eager about it. So am I.”
The 37-year-old was much less sure about Woods’s long-term prospects. “All the things is a bit of little bit of a query mark, simply to see how he’s going to reply bodily and all the pieces,” García mentioned. “So I suppose we’ll simply have to attend and see.
“In the event you ask will he play like the best way he did within the early 2000s, it’s tough. He’s acquired a variety of qualities and he can clearly get to a excessive degree. I feel to get to that degree may be very tough, even for him, as a result of he’s 40 now. So his physique doesn’t transfer the way in which it used to maneuver when he was 20, 25.
“However we’ll see. Like I stated, I feel all the things is just a little little bit of a query mark for all of us, we’ll see the way it goes within the subsequent 4 or 5 months.”
Woods spent Tuesday afternoon enterprise promotional work, together with a helicopter tour.
A spokesperson for the Trump Dubai course, which is predicted to open quickly, refused to disclose if the 14-times main winner is scheduled to go to it throughout his keep.