Tag:stars paired in dubai
Posted on: February 8, 2011 9:07 am
Edited on: February 8, 2011 9:58 am

Watching Dubai stars easy as 1-2-3

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.


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