Woods, McIlroy set to play in Abu Dhabi

Woods, McIlroy set to play in Abu Dhabi

PARIS - Agence France-Presse
Woods, McIlroy set to play in Abu Dhabi

Golf star Tiger Woods is confirmed for next year’s Abu Dhabi event. DHA photo

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods have both confirmed they will return to Abu Dhabi in January to open their 2013 season.

The top-ranking players in the world played in the emirate in January this year, although neither won the European PGA tournament which went to England’s Robert Rock.

But both said they had been impressed by the Abu Dhabi Golf Club course and the facilities that were provided, convincing them to return for next year with a $2.7 million prize fund on offer from January 17-20.

“I really enjoyed my time in Abu Dhabi and I wanted to return, particularly as I played well and came so close last year,” said Woods.

“I’d love nothing more than to win in January and start the season in the best possible way.” McIlroy, who won his first pro tournament in nearby Dubai in 2009, took over the world No.1 spot earlier this year and went on to win his second major tournament at the USPGA in August.

“This will be the first time I’ve headed to Abu Dhabi as world number one and I’m determined to keep the wins coming and cement my ranking,” the Ulsterman said.

“The strength of the field means there will be a ton of world ranking points on offer so Abu Dhabi will be a really significant tournament that sets the tone for the year.

“I had a great tussle with Tiger nine months ago and I’m sure he’ll be in contention again. We’ve spent a lot of time playing together this year and it’s always fun challenging the best.”