x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Qatar winner Bjorn recalls taming Tiger in 2001 Desert Classic duel

The win in Doha and a new driver are making the Dane feel good but will not take anything for granted

DUBAI // Ten years ago Tiger Woods teed up in the Dubai Desert Classic only to be handed a golf lesson at the hands of Denmark's Thomas Bjorn.

In March, 2001 Woods was the tearaway world No 1, holding three major titles, which he would add to a month later with the US Masters win at Augusta National.

Dubai organisers grouped Woods with the 30-year-old Bjorn, who matched Woods' opening round of 64 and as it turned out, the Dane played all four rounds with the American before he won the tournament by two strokes.

"I played sensational that week against Tiger in 2001, and the best golf I've ever played," Bjorn, who is fresh off winning the Qatar Masters, told Reuters. "Every part of my game was just perfect that week.

"And while my win in Qatar is a big boost in confidence, it would be nice to be tackling Tiger again this week in the final round.

"But then we all know how golf changes.

"I had played poorly for a good time leading up to this win, so all I can do is enjoy my victory for a few days."

Bjorn turns 40 next week and joins the likes of his Ryder Cup winning colleagues Darren Clarke and Miguel Angel Jimenez along with major winners Ernie Els, Angel Cabrera, Retief Goosen and Michael Campbell the other side of 40.

The 46-year-old Jimenez will defend this week's Dubai Desert Classic, having won four times last year, which is something that Bjorn aspires to.

"What Miguel achieved last year was phenomenal and I'm not concerned about turning 40 because I feel quite comfortable where I am health wise, as I am with my golf," Bjorn said.

"So age doesn't matter and besides with this new ... driver I am getting on average a further 10 yards off the tee than I have for a few years.

"So I feel good about my golf at the moment, and I will be on the range in Dubai still pounding golf balls because I still want to improve and that's the way it is."

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