Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship Preview and Predictions

The European Tour returns from its South African swing with a tournament in Abu Dhabi.  The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship brings together many of the world's top players for their first starts in 2013.  The world's best are enjoying lavish amenities and large appearance bonuses to play at the tournament which begins a group of tournaments on the European Tour in the Middle East.

HSBC is the title sponsor for the event in the Middle East and continues to grow its influence in the world of golf.

The tournament starts January 17th

In The Field
Numerous top-10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are making their 2013 debut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.  Many former major champions are in the field, as well as European Tour Order of Merit winners.

Players To Watch
Tiger Woods: World #2 and golf enigma Tiger Woods is making his 2013 debut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC.  Woods last played at the World Challenge, a tournament that benefits his foundation.  Woods finished third last season at this tournament, where Robert Rock and Rory McIlroy finished in the two spots ahead of him.  The last couple of weeks have been dedicated to fine-tuning his game.  Woods enters the 2013 season off his first healthy season in over five years.

Rory McIlroy: Rory McIlroy, the world's number-one ranked player, also makes his 2013 season debut at the HSBC.  McIlroy is debuting a new equipment deal with Nike and will have a full-set of new clubs at hand.  McIlroy is looking to continue his strong play and the he hopes the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship springboards his 2013 season.

Ernie Els: Els competed last weekend in the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa where he had a solid finish.  Els, the defending Open Champion, hopes to have another strong season in his forties.

Jason Dufner: Coming off his strongest season on the PGA Tour, Dufner looks to get his 2013 season off to another strong start.  He competed in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the PGA Tour and is a special invite into the field in Abu Dhabi.

Justin Rose: Another top-10 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, the Englishman had a strong season in 2013.  Looking for his major breakthrough, Rose hopes the tournament in Abu Dhabi gives him the confidence to take his first major championship in 2013.

Holes to Watch
The Abu Dhabi Golf Club once again hosts the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.  The course plays in at just over 7300 yards and at par-72 will provide ample scoring opportunities for the players.

Hole 1: The opening hole is a strong par-4 with water up the right side.  Fairway bunkers flank both sides of the landing area so less-than driver will be called for on the hole.

Hole 2: A 600-yard par 4 gives the players a strong test.  The narrow fairway makes the tee shot extremely important and the layup will be vital in making this hole a birdie hole.

Hole 7: At 195 yards, the seventh hole takes a mid-long iron to reach a wide, shallow green. A carry over water and a bunker on the front of the green requires a solid shot to hit the green in regulation.

Hole 12: Another scenic par-3, the 12th hole measures in at 185 yards.  Water in front of the landing area is in play if a shot comes up short.

Hole 18: The tournament may come down to the 18th hole.  A reachable hole at 556 yards, players who hit a solid tee shot will have a shot at eagle and can make up numerous shots on the field.  But water is in play along the right side off the tee so big numbers are also possible.

Coming off an off season where he could fine-tune his game and relax instead of rehabbing injuries and overtooling his game, Tiger Woods will enter the Abu Dhabi HSBC with his game in top form.  After a third place finish last season without his A-game, Woods will be even more confident this season.  I forsee a solid week from Woods and he will take the win by two strokes over Justin Rose.  Rory McIlroy will have a solid finish, but the adjustment to his new sticks in the bag will struggle with some shots but will putt well enough to keep himself in play. 

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