Willett ready for more Dubai glory

Major winner has had two significant Dubai wins in recent years

Major winner Danny Willett joins a host of international stars who are looking to benefit from their past experiences in the United Arab Emirates at the inaugural Golf in Dubai Championship presented by DP World.

Willett ready for more Dubai glory at Jumeirah
Danny Willett (Getty Images)

The 2016 Masters Tournament champion has had two significant Dubai wins in recent years, triumphing in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic just two months before claiming his maiden Major title, then lifting the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai trophy to become a Rolex Series winner in 2018.

Willett is aiming to end the year on a high with two positives weeks as he takes on the Fire Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates for the first time, before the more familiar Earth Course hosts the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

“It’s always a great place to come. Regardless of the time of year we get perfect weather, some great golf courses, we get looked after fantastically well. It’s a new course on the Fire track this week and then back to some good memories on the Earth Course next week, luckily enough. Looking forward to what could be a nice two weeks at the end of the year.

“I’ve been fortunate to win at some fantastic golf courses and places round the world. They often go hand in hand – if you have a nice week and you like where you are going to and the vibe of the place, you are a bit more relaxed and enjoy the week a bit more. 

“I know we’re on a different course this week and next week we’re back on the Earth Course. Just golf courses that as soon as you get there, they suit your eye. You like how things set out for you in a personal way with the beautiful hotels, you get looked after really well. Just fantastic weeks I’ve had in the past in Dubai.”

Two-time Major Champion Martin Kaymer has also enjoyed past success in the UAE, winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship three times, as well as topping the Race to Dubai in 2010.

“Coming to Dubai at the beginning of the year and the end of the year, it’s always nice that you start and finish in great tournaments.

“Once you have early success in your career on the golf course or in an area it’s very difficult not to like it. Especially in Abu Dhabi that was the first win of my career. I just really enjoy this part of the world, not just because of the golf but we stay in lovely hotels, the food is good , the people are nice, you usually have great crowds at the tournaments. The whole package suits me.

It’s not the most difficult golf course which we’ll play, which is also a danger – you take it too easy and think it’s a birdie-fest. It’s very playable, the greens are lovely. It’s a great preparation for next week; I’m glad we can play the Fire course. I’ve played it many times in the past, usually the week before the UAE swing I come here and practice – play the Earth or the Fire course, so I am familiar with it.”

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The German comes into this week’s event in fine form, having recorded six top tens this season, including two in his last two starts.

Meanwhile Thomas Pieters, who became a father during the four month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic earlier in the year, returns to European Tour action for the first time since the BMW PGA Championship in October, with Matt Wallace and Bernd Wiesberger also aiming to end the season on a high in Dubai.

“The form should be good, I’ve practiced a lot,” said Pieters. “I’ve kind of changed the way I practice, a bit more structured and efficient and I’m quite happy to get going, it’s been eight or nine weeks since I’ve played.

“Maybe there’s a bit more space off the tee here and that suits me but I quite like it here. It’s always nice weather, good greens and good golf courses. Just like everybody we want everything to get back to normal, but we can’t complain because we’re playing golf. I’ve been a full-time dad and now I just want to get back to playing some golf.”

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