Former One Direction star Niall Horan showed off his golfing chops with a stunning putt at the Dubai Desert Classic ProAm on Wednesday.
Playing alongside Rory McIlroy, for whom Horan famously caddied at a 2015 Masters practice event, the singer-songwriter nailed a long-distance putt from just off the green. He followed his ice-cool putt with a befitting celebration, an equally cool flip of his putter.
Horan has played in several pro-am events since that 2015 par-three at Augusta, showing a keen interest in the sport.
He’s also got plans to take in the sights and sounds while he’s in Dubai, saying he wants to check out the Dubai Marina zipline among other attractions.
Four-time major winner McIlroy is in Dubai bidding to win his third title at the Dubai Desert Classic and continue his impressive recent form during his comeback from a rib injury that cut his 2017 season short.
Former One Direction star Niall Horan played alongside four-time major winner Rory McIlroy at the Dubai Desert Classic ProAm on Wednesday.
Horan famously caddied for McIlroy in the par-three contest at Augusta ahead of the 2015 Masters – and has played in a number of pro-am events since.
Aside from golf, Horan expressed interest in testing out the Dubai Marina zip line during his visit – while McIlroy will be looking to continue his impressive comeback form as he bid to win a third title in Dubai.
Sergio Garcia may be a Masters winner and the current Omega Dubai Desert Classic champion, but it could be argued that he is not currently the best Spaniard in golf.
As Garcia continues to fly the Spanish flag with pride around the world, the Borriol native now has a trusted compatriot in Jon Rahm who recently rose to No2 in the world rankings after sealing victory at last week’s CareerBuilder Challenge in California – the same weekend in which Garcia triumphed in Singapore.
DP World Tour Championship winner Rahm has the chance to move to pole position in the rankings this weekend if he wins at Torrey Pines on the PGA Tour, a mammoth rise for a player who was 137th just 12 months ago.
“He’s got a great opportunity to achieve something, not only for himself but for Spain that hasn’t been for quite a long time, since Seve did it, it would be nice to see it happen,” Garcia said. “I’m sure DJ (Dustin Johnson) and some of the other guys that are around that spot would not make it easy on him. So we’ll see what happens.”
Garcia’s dominant victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic last season was his first on the European Tour in more than three years and a win that kick-started a fine autumn campaign, culminating in the green jacket at the Masters.
Time has passed and it’s no coincidence that the Spaniard finds himself back at the scene of his Dubai win.
The 37-year-old will need to be at his immaculate best if he is to successfully defend his crown as he lines up alongside a stellar cast, including Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood.
After ending nearly two decades of heartbreak for his first major in April – coming on a day that would have been the 60th birthday of Spanish legend Seve Ballesteros – Garcia isn’t stopping there and is still focused on adding another major crown to his cabinet.
“The goals are still the same: Trying to keep improving, keep getting better in all aspects of the game, just like every year,” he said.
“Obviously I try to put myself in winning situations like I did last week and try to cope with them the best way possible and give myself chances at winning tournaments.
“There’s still always pressure and trying to overcome things and achieve things. So maybe if you’re in a situation to win you feel a little bit more comfortable, but it doesn’t mean that it becomes easy.”
There is plenty to keep an eye on in Dubai this weekend. But alongside Rahm in Torrey Pines, all the cameras will be on Tiger Woods as he makes his first appearance on the PGA Tour for more than a year.
And while Garcia is glad to see him back after another injury-plagued year, the world No9 believes Woods has a long way to go to prove his fitness in the long term.
He said: “It’s going to be interesting, it’s a big question mark to see how he’s going to be able to do physically.
He looked pretty good at the Hero Challenge. But he has looked good at the Hero Challenge, and then he hasn’t lasted too long.
“Hopefully, he’s able to get in a bit of a rhythm when it comes down to playing tournaments. But nobody knows.”
“He probably doesn’t even know how his back and his body is going to cope with with playing tournaments and practising and everything that comes with it.”