McIlroy ruled out of Dubai Desert Classic

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The fans' favourite won't be featuring in Dubai..

World No2 Rory McIlroy will not tee it up at next week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

The two-time champion was named as the star attraction of the tournament along with 14-time major champion Tiger Woods, but hasn’t yet recovered from the stress fracture of ribs suffered during the first round of the BMW South African Open.

McIlroy completed the tournament, where he finished second, and had a MRI done when he returned to Dubai from Johannesburg. He later pulled out of last week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The Omega Dubai Desert Classic has a special place in McIlroy’s heart, it being his first professional win back in 2009. He later won the tournament again in 2015.

Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice-chairman and CEO of ‘golf in DUBAi’, promoters of the tournament, said:

“Obviously, we are disappointed, but we fully understand the situation. Our greatest concern is Rory’s health and while we will miss a great friend of the tournament and out city, we want him back on the golf course fit and playing the kind of golf only he is capable of.”

McIlroy is now expected to make his comeback at The Honda Classic on the PGA Tour, to be played at Palm Beach in Florida from February 23-26.

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Woods seven previous appearances at Dubai Desert Classic

Fourteen-time major winner Tiger Woods has confirmed he will play in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic held at Emirates Golf Club from February 2-5.

Woods, a two-time winner in Dubai, last played the event in 2014 - finishing in 41st place.

Here, we take a look at his seven appearances in Dubai.

2001 Woods finished tied second after playing all four rounds alongside eventual winner Thomas Bjorn. Leading by one shot going into the final day, the American hit an approach shot into the water on the 18th hole to lose by two. 2004 Woods had a mixed weekend finishing tied fifth alongside Brian Davis, Thongchai Jaidee and Marcel Siem. The tournament was won by American Mark O'Meara who rolled back the years to clinch a first tour win since 1998. 2006 Shot birdies on the final two holes to force a play-off with defending champion Ernie Els. On the play-off hole, Els struck his shot into the water and Woods finished with a par to seal a first title in the UAE.
Ernie Els (L) and Tiger Woods (R). Ernie Els (L) and Tiger Woods (R).
2007 Had a frustrating weekend with the putter and finished tied third with Niclas Fasth on 17-under par. Watched by a gallery that included Michael Schumacher and Roger Federer, Dubai-resident at the time Henrik Stenson produced a final round 68 to finish one shot ahead of Ernie Els and two ahead of Woods. 2008 Underlined his status as one of the greatest of all time to recover from a four-shot deficit on the back nine and win by one shot. He remarkably holed birdies on five of the last seven holes to charge to a second victory.
Tiger Woods celebrates after winning the Desert Classic. Tiger Woods celebrates after winning the Desert Classic.
2011 Woods came into the tournament bidding for a first victory in 15 months, but errant drives and some shaky putting led to crucial birdie misses. Still with a chance of victory going into the final day, Woods stumbled and finished tied 20th in a disappointing round. 2014 Woods finished ten shots behind eventual winner Stephen Gallacher in tied 41st place for his worst ever finish in seven appearances at the Dubai Desert Classic.

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Woods confirmed for Omega Dubai Desert Classic

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Tiger Woods.

Fourteen-time major winner Tiger Woods has confirmed he will play in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic held at Emirates Golf Club from February 2-5.

Woods, a two-time winner in Dubai, last played the event in 2014 – finishing in 41st place.

The 41-year-old will face a series of stellar names at the Majlis Course, including world No. 2 Rory McIlroy, 2016 Race to Dubai winner Henrik Stenson and last year’s Desert Classic champion Danny Willett.

Woods said: “I’ve always enjoyed playing in Dubai and it’s fantastic to see how the city has grown phenomenally from when I first started playing there.”

“It was great winning in Dubai in 2006 and 2008. When you win in Dubai, you know you’ve beaten an outstanding field. The support from the fans is also just wonderful,” said Woods, who boasts 14 Major victories and 79 PGA Tour wins, making him one of the most dominant players in the history of golf.”

“I still remember making that long putt on the 18th. That was nice. Also, I remember I shot three straight 64s, but only two of them were counted because one was in the pro am. That was the year (2001) when I finished runner-up to Thomas (Bjorn),” he added.

Following a 16-month absence from competitive golf, Woods returned to action in November, finishing 15th at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

It’s been more than three years since he last won a tournament, that victory coming at the 2013 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.

But with the new season teeing off this month, Woods will be looking to make a positive start to 2017 at Torrey Pines on January 26-29 before flying to Dubai for the Desert Classic.

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