Tiger Woods ended any speculation about the start of his next season when on Wednesday he committed to play in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, a European Tour event. This is the second straight year that both he and current top ranked Rory McIlroy will start their years in the Mid-East.
The Abu Dhabi tournament will be held from January 17th to the 20th. It has been moved a week earlier this year than last. This means that it will conflict with the PGA Tour’s Humana Challenge in Palm Springs, California. This tournament was previously known as the Bob Hope Classic.
The move was most likely because last year the Abu Dhabi event conflicted with the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Last year, Woods skipped the event that he has won six times as well as the 2008 U.S. Open, which was played at Torrey Pines.
This leaves open the possibility that Woods might begin his PGA tour season a week later at Torrey Pines. Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, said Wednesday that this has yet to be decided.
Last year at Abu Dhabi was the first time that Woods and McIlroy had played in the same group in an official event after playing the first three rounds together. McIlroy finished second and Woods tied for third. Robert Rock finished first.
For anyone doubting why they’re playing this event, the answer…money. Both Woods and McIlroy will receive appearance fees for just showing up. This is a common practice in the European Tour events for well-known players. Can’t say I blame them. Gas is expensive now-a-days.