Jan 20th, 2021
McIlroy looking for fast start to 2021
Rory has done "everything but win" around Abu Dhabi Golf Club
Photography: Getty Images
In ten appearances the Northern Irishman has finished runner-up three times and third on three further occasions, admitting that he has done "everything but win" around Abu Dhabi Golf Club. The 31-year-old is no stranger to success in the Middle East, claiming four of his 14 European Tour titles in the United Arab Emirates as well as winning the Race to Dubai three times.
McIlroy will begin his campaign in the company of defending champion and reigning European Number One Lee Westwood, and World Number Three Justin Thomas. The 2017 US PGA Championship winner admits he has been an avid viewer of the tournament in the past as he prepares to make his first appearance in the Middle East.
“It's good to be back. I started my season in Abu Dhabi from 2008 to 2018 and it's worked well for me. It's a golf course I've done well at and played well on. I've done everything but win here and yeah, I'll try again and see if I can get the job done." said McIlroy.
Former champion Tommy Fleetwood will go in search of a third win in the space of five years at this event. After a near three and a half year wait for his second European Tour title, Fleetwood won the 2017 edition which he then successfully defended the following year. In 2020, he finished runner-up to Westwood.
“I think it's a great way to start the year. Everybody seems to like coming out to the Middle East just after Christmas and New Year, do some practice, and you come out here and you have some great tournaments to start the year," said Fleetwood.
“It was never really a course that gave me much pleasure, really. I missed a lot of cuts to start off with and all of the sudden in 2017, things kind of turned around and I started hitting good golf shots around the golf course. I've been on a lovely run in this event.”