x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

More complete Rory McIlroy ready to swing away in Dubai Desert Classic

Rory McIlroy says it will be a more polished and stronger player that fans in Dubai will see when he competes in the Dubai Desert Classic in February.

Rory McIlroy says he is more polished and definitely physically stronger than when he first played the Dubai Desert Classic in 2007 or when he won it in 2009.
Rory McIlroy says he is more polished and definitely physically stronger than when he first played the Dubai Desert Classic in 2007 or when he won it in 2009.

 

Rory McIlroy is determined to show the galleries at the Emirates Golf Club a more polished player than the one who claimed a breakthrough victory in the Dubai Desert Classic three years ago.

The Irishman is looking forward to his return to the UAE for next month's tournament, a competition that holds special memories for the world No 3.

The 2009 Desert Classic was McIlroy's first professional victory and made him the seventh youngest winner in European Tour history.

The emirate also saw the 22 year old make the cut for the first time in a European Tour event back in 2007.

"It's always nice to get back to a golf course where I've enjoyed success," McIlroy said.

"The memories of the 2009 are still very strong, but I feel as if I'm a more complete player now than I was in 2009.

"I definitely swing it better. I'm able to shape the ball both ways and, physically, I've gotten stronger and I feel like I'm definitely headed in the right direction.

McIlroy will be joined in the field by players such as Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, the world Nos 2 and 4 respectively, for the February 9 to 12 tournament.

The reigning US Open champion now boasts five wins worldwide, including three on the European Tour and two on the PGA Tour.

"Obviously, I will be looking to win the [Dubai] event again," McIlroy said. Also joining the European Ryder Cup player in the US$2.5 million (Dh9,183m) event will be Fred Couples, the victorious US Presidents Cup captain, who himself was the first American to win in Dubai in 1995.

"Rory is a familiar face to Dubai fans, having competed in this event a number of times, both as an amateur and professional," said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, the vice chairman and chief executive of Golf in Dubai. "He is an exceptionally talented young sportsman who, I believe, is destined for greatness.

"For sure, he is an inspiration to young sportsmen even from beyond his own sport. They admire him a lot and love watching him. I don't believe in comparing sportsmen, but Rory's youthful charm and charisma has certainly created its own marketable brand. With three of the world's top four joining Fred in the field, we can expect high quality golf."

 

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