Playing with Westwood and Kaymer will be fun, says Tiger
DUBAI, Feb 9 — World No. 3 Tiger Woods is relishing the prospect of playing in the same group as top-ranked Lee Westwood and No. 2 Martin Kaymer in the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic.
“It’s going to be fun,” Woods told reporters on the eve of the tournament. “The last time I played in a group like this was at the US Open in 2008, it was the top three guys (me, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott) and we had a lot of fun.”
Former world No. 1 Woods has not played as much with German Kaymer, 26, as he has with 37-year-old Briton Westwood.
“I’ve always had a great time with Lee,” said the 35-year-old American. “We have been on tour for about the same amount of time.
“We have also been paired together at a few major championships and I’ve always gotten along really well with Lee.”
Woods has gone 14 months without a victory and knows he must start winning consistently again before he can think of returning to the top of the rankings.
“I have been out here long enough now (to know) it’s about sustainability,” said the 14-times major winner.
“The guys who have been No. 1 when I’ve been out here playing — how they got here, they won golf tournaments.
“That’s how David (Duval) got there, how Vijay (Singh) got there, how Lee got there — and you have to do it for long periods of times,” said Woods, who is without a win since the 2009 Australian Masters.
Army officer partner
Woods played today with a US Army officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Rowells.
Nine-handicapper Rowells, on a 12-month deployment in Afghanistan with the 401st Army Field Support Brigade (SB), was among 16,000 amateur golfers from around the world who registered for the Tiger Woods pro-am competition.
It was an especially pleasant experience for Woods, given that his late father Earl was a former Green Beret.
“It was really special playing with Michael,” said Tiger. “We really don’t get the chance to thank our servicemen and women enough for what they do.
“He has a little bit of a connection to my dad, which is nice. He works with the 12th group, which is a reserve unit for the SB. My dad was in group two, so it’s nice to talk about things like that.”
Woods, who won this tournament in 2006 and 2008, is in the last year of a long-term contract with the Dubai Desert Classic organisers, and was not sure if the deal would be extended.
“I’m here just to win this week and we’ll see what happens (after that),” he said. — Reuters