SPANISH ARMADA STORMS INTO ABU DHABI HSBC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
23 - January 2012
Quiros, Garcia and Jimenez Join ‘Falcon’ Trophy Hunt
23 January, 2012 – Abu Dhabi, UAE: The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship trophy engraver will no doubt be practicing his ‘graves’ this week, after Spain’s three leading golfers, Álvaró Quiros, Sergio Garcia and Miguel Ángel Jiménez, all declared their intent to this month land the PGA European Tour event’s iconic ‘Falcon’ trophy.
The in-form Spaniards, all of whom have played in Abu Dhabi before, join a stellar cast featuring world number one Luke Donald, reigning Major winners, Charl Schwartzel (US Masters), Rory McIlroy (US Open) and Darren Clarke (British Open), as well as former world number one, Lee Westwood, and Abu Dhabi debutant Tiger Woods.
Intriguingly, the collective Spanish armada carries scintillating form into the event. García ended a three year title drought late last year with back-to-back wins in home events at the Castelló Masters and the Andalucía Masters; Quiros won the season-ending Dubai World Championship to finish the year ranked sixth in the Order of Merit, while Jimenez is no stranger to Middle East success, having won the Dubai Desert Classic in 2010.
“I had an up-and-down year but finished strongly, which was very pleasing for me after having so many challenges along the way,” said Quiros, who was sidelined for five months last year with damaged tendons and ligaments in his left wrist. “I’ve had a chance to take a break over the Christmas and I’m feeling relaxed and refreshed for the season ahead. I feel confident and I’m working hard to continue my form into Abu Dhabi. It’s an incredible line-up, but the Spanish have strength in numbers and hopefully one or more of us will be in with a chance on the final day.”
Rested and recuperated, Quiros, one of the game’s longest hitters, will need all his power to fend off a resurgent Garcia, whose end-of-season wins elevated him back into the world’s top 20.
“To finish the season that way has given me a great deal of confidence and I feel like I’m getting back to my old self and playing the way I know I can,” said Garcia. “I would love nothing more than to start the season with a win in Abu Dhabi against a strong field in a very tough event.”
Garcia may be confident, but the vastly-experienced Jiménez has other ideas. The iconic, cigar-smoking, 48-year-old has 18 European Tour wins to his name and, having contested four Ryder Cups (1999, 2004, 2008, and 2010) already, is eager to get this latest Ryder Cup season off to a flyer in the UAE capital.
“It’s a big year ahead with the Ryder Cup and I love playing in the Middle East where I have enjoyed some success and feel like I can enjoy some more, hopefully in Abu Dhabi,” said Jiménez. “With the line-up they have confirmed, it’s going to be pretty special tournament. There’s a lot to play for this year and everyone is going to be looking to get their season off to the best possible start.”
Elsewhere, defending and triple Abu Dhabi winner, Martin Kaymer, is back chasing title number four, while Australian hot-shot, Jason Day, Korean number one, KJ Choi, and Italian prodigy, Matteo Manassero - a global golf ambassador for Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), the Championship organiser - are also among the title favourites when the seventh Championship unfolds at Abu Dhabi Golf Club from January 26-29.
Tickets for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship are available via the event’s official website, www.abudhabigolfchampionship.com, as well as online at www.timeouttickets.com and www.itptickets.com. Phone bookings can be made through the ITP toll-free hotline 800 4669, or for international visitors, +971 4 210 8943.