Blog Entry

Watching Dubai stars easy as 1-2-3

Posted on: February 8, 2011 9:07 am
Edited on: February 8, 2011 9:58 am

Take that, PGA Tour.

Days after the PGA Tour commissioner said the circuit will continue to doctor its early week tee sheet in order to heighten the marquee value of its players, the European Tour one-upped its Yankee counterparts again.

This week at the high-powered Dubai Desert Classic, the top three players in the world -- Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Tiger Woods -- have been grouped together in the first two rounds.

It ought to be quite a scene. While Woods is fighting to regain some semblance of self, he has an incredible record at the Dubai event, where he commands a huge appearance fee. In his last five starts there, he's won twice and finished no worse than a tie for fifth.

Westwood, the current No. 1, lost in a playoff to Miguel Angel Jimenez last year at Dubai, while Kaymer won two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi and has four victories in his last nine starts.

The last time the top three players in the world were sent off together was at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. In the first two rounds, the USGA grouped Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott together.

“It is a fantastic draw for the tournament and for people watching,” Westwood said in Dubai. “I think that's what people like to see.  Certainly at other events where you draw the three Major champions together in the PGA Championship, that's always exciting, and at the U.S. Open, with the top three in the world.  But I don't think it's ever happened on the European Tour.

“Certainly for the European Tour itself, having the top two in the world ranking, with the person that's dominated the game over the last 15 years, playing in the same three-ball would be great for the tour, great for golf and very exciting that would draw a lot of attention to the European Tour in a period where sponsorship and things like that is very competitive."

Kaymer has never played alongwide Woods. 

“Of course I've met him but I don't know how it is to play with him, so it will be nice," Kaymer said in Dubai. "It will be great for the tournament, having the top three playing on Thursday and Friday.  So I look forward to it.
“I think we shouldn't really see it as a rivalry.  We are out here to have fun and play good golf and show the people that we do our job with passion and love.  It's not about winning or losing in the end of the day.  It's about challenging each other and having fun.”

He added: “I think I have a better chance to become the No. 1 this week than last week because I fancy the golf course much more than Qatar. So from this point of view, the chances are bigger and higher this week."

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said last week that fans can anticipate more of the customized groupings in Thursday and Friday rounds -- which are usually generated by semi-random computer draw based on a player's tour status -- down the road.

"I think you will see it more often," Finchem said at Torrey Pines. "I don't think you'll see more of it in any particular week, but we are going to do it a fair amount during the course of the year. It does help our television product, we think. We also think it creates a little bit more interest.
"Certainly major championships that don't follow us as it relates to pairings have utilized pairings effectively in recent years to create story lines to help break into a few more column inches in the sports section, which is important in today's world, to compete and to get more attention.

"So, yeah, we like it. We'll test it out here the first few weeks and see what happens. But most likely we'll continue during the course of the year."

If the Dubai move doesn’t garner some eyeballs, nothing will.

Ladbrokes has listed Woods and Kaymer as co-favorites at 5/1, with Westwood next at 12/1. Westwood missed the cut last week in Qatar.



Since: Feb 9, 2011
Posted on: February 9, 2011 9:14 am

Watching Dubai stars easy as 1-2-3

Doesn't Tiger get like a Million bucks just to show up at this tournament ???

Since: Sep 11, 2009
Posted on: February 8, 2011 8:08 pm

Watching Dubai stars easy as 1-2-3

Me too!

Since: Oct 16, 2007
Posted on: February 8, 2011 6:51 pm

Watching Dubai stars easy as 1-2-3

Although it is not really discussed in any detail, this notion of appearence fees is becomming outdated for the European Tour. When the PGA Tour was heads and shoulders above the European Tour, the fees made sense to entice some of the best golfers on the US Tour to play the occasional event in Europe or the Middle East. Now that the talent has, in many ways, leveled out, it's time for the European PGA Tour and the PGA Tour to reconsider what this looks like. I'd like to see a situation where appearence fees go away on the Euro Tour and insted they jack up the purses to be more competitive with the PGA Tour. Then perhaps you could earn conditional status on one Tour based on performance on the other Tour. For instance the Top 30 on the PGA Tour could play in up to 8 events in Europe, and the Top 30 on the Euro Tour could play in 8 events in the US. As it stands now, a lot of the best European players (like Rory McIlroy) are going to play back home (which is understandable), but more and more US Players are going to pass on PGA Tour events to go play for guarenteed money in Europe. If this continues, the PGA Tour is going to suffer long term.

Since: Jan 18, 2008
Posted on: February 8, 2011 4:01 pm

Watching Dubai stars easy as 1-2-3

its hard to beleive that tiger is a favorite to win the way he is playing.he may draw the crowds but he does not strike fear in any of the players anymore until he sharpens his game he will continue to be a middle of the pack golfer.the PGA needs to move forward and endorse the younger stars of the game more, they are the real future while some people are mearly a shell of there former self.tiger should hope they dont ask for his appearance money back if he stinks up the joint again.

Since: Nov 29, 2009
Posted on: February 8, 2011 3:14 pm

Watching Dubai stars easy as 1-2-3

Gabbo no where could you see the name "Tiger Woods" before you started reading the article, so that was just a bad attempt at trying to be funny.

Since: Oct 9, 2009
Posted on: February 8, 2011 2:21 pm

Watching Dubai stars easy as 1-2-3

ummm Kakarto....Kaymer won last years PGA Championship which would be a that you definitely didn't watch.

Since: Nov 28, 2007
Posted on: February 8, 2011 1:57 pm

Watching Dubai stars easy as 1-2-3

I'm dissapointed, I thought an article about a Tiger Woods Threesome would be more interesting.

Since: Feb 6, 2008
Posted on: February 8, 2011 11:49 am

Watching Dubai stars easy as 1-2-3

You must not be paying close attention while watching those Majors, kakarot.  Kaymer is our reigning PGA Championship Tournament Champion.  He also placed 8th at last years US Open and 7th at THE OPEN, so he's a PLAYER, no doubt about that.    

Then again, I suppose it's entirely possible that some (maybe more than some) casual golf fans think Dustin Johnson won the PGA Championship tournament, since he got all the headlines for the bunker penalty.   

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: February 8, 2011 11:40 am

Watching Dubai stars easy as 1-2-3

If you are a definite watcher of the major championships, then you should know that Martin Kaymer won the PGA Championship last year.

Since: Aug 17, 2009
Posted on: February 8, 2011 11:15 am

Watching Dubai stars easy as 1-2-3

I admit to being only a casual viewer of golf.  I might catch an odd sunday round, especially if the big names are involved.  The majors are a definite.  That said - I have no idea who Martin Kaymer is.  I was very surprised that he is the number 2 player in the world, and could be number 1 soon.  Wow.  With Tiger's collapse, the golf world really is on its ear.  Unless Tiger becomes at least competitive again soon, it seems that golf will need to quickly find a new identity.  Maybe Phil can fill the void, who knows.

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