Ahead of his appearance at this week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the 41-year-old 14-time major winner watched the Swiss and Williams claim singles titles in Melbourne from afar – and congratulated them both with an exchange of messages after.
Woods specifically discussed Federer during his pre-event press conference at the Emirates Golf Club – where he commended the 35-year-old’s longevity in the game and said the fellow Nike athlete was an inspiration.
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Tiger Woods and a host of stars have sparked an exceptional level of excitement for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
A strong field will tee off Thursday morning at the Majlis course in a quest to win the title, but only one will lift the coveted trophy on Sunday.
Here’s a hole-by-hole guide to one of the most celebrated courses in the UAE.
The 17-year-old won the MENA Golf Tour Amateur Order of Merit to earn his place in the oldest golf tournament in the Middle East, two weeks after he was given a special invitation to play the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Thomas, now ranked 112th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, said: “I’ve wanted to play the Dubai desert Classic for a while now. Since I was at least 12, I’ve been coming out to watch this event, and it’s great to be here at home.
“I know this place like the back of my hand. Hopefully, that will serve me well this week.”
Despite his knowledge of the golf course, Thomas admitted he was feeling slightly nervous.
“Yeah, a little bit. You always put a little pressure on yourself because you expect something more, but as long as I just play my best and stick to my routines, I will be fine,” said the teenager who became the youngest and the only amateur to win on the MENA Tour last year.
“I try not to give myself expectations, but you always expect something. I just want to play my best. That’s all I expect from myself.”
Thomas paid tribute to the MENA Tour for helping him achieve so much so early in his career.
“The MENA Tour has been great, playing there since I was 13. It has been a great place to hone my skills and build some confidence. From 2013, trying to make the amateur cut, going into my room and like waiting and just trying to look at the scores, keep refreshing the page…to now contending on that Tour,” he added.
“It’s the same now with the European Tour. Hopefully, I will get better as the years go through. But I am looking forward to playing more on the MENA Tour. They are doing a great job. They are expanding and hopefully I will be with them all the way to the end.”