Björn hopes to turn back clock at Omega Dubai Desert Classic

THOMAS BJORN-1

Thomas Björn will be hoping to turn back the clock and reproduce some of the magic he displayed in beating Tiger Woods for his famous victory in 2001 when he returns to compete in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club from February 2 to 5.

Much water has flowed under the bridge since that epic 'duel of the desert,' but the Great Dane's hunger to scale the mountain remains undiminished as he will be looking to glean more glory in an event again headlined by Woods and includes the likes of The Open winner Henrik Stenson and defending champion Danny Willett among other hotshots.

Björn, 30 at the time, played 72 holes in the exalted company of Woods and emerged as a worthy champion with a record 22-under-par total of 266 he now shares with Stephen Gallacher (2013) and McIlroy (2015).

"I always look forward to playing in Dubai. It is one of my favourite tournaments and I always feel like if I am playing well, it is definitely a course on which I can score well," said Björn, who boasts 21 professional wins, including 15 on the European Tour.

"I feel at home in Dubai so, in many ways it feels like a home event for me and I am certainly looking forward to enjoying some sunshine too," said the 45-year-old Dane, who has been named as Europe's captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup.

"I feel very proud to have been appointed as the European Ryder Cup Captain and I am relishing the task in the coming months," said Björn, who will be joined by virtually every member of the 2016 European Ryder Cup contingent, including captain Darren Clarke.

"I have lived and breathed the European Tour for so long, and now will do the same with the Ryder Cup for the next two years. I think all of my experiences as part of the European Ryder Cup team, both as a player and as a vice captain, will be invaluable to me over the coming months.

"There is so much young talent coming through the European Tour, it's just impossible to name every single one of the young players that I think we could possibly see qualifying for the 2018 European Ryder Cup team.

"I believe there are any number of names that we could potentially see coming through the ranks and earning their place in the 2018 team," said Björn, who is also a 'golf in DUBAi' ambassador.

"The progress of Dubai has been amazing over the years and the Classic Week truly underlines how the Emirate has grown to become one of the world's most exciting golfing destinations.

"It exudes a culture of excellence and a brand name that appeals to all in the golfing fraternity and I feel proud and privileged to be part of the 'golf in DUBAi' family," said the affable Dane.

Congratulating on his appointment as the 2018 Ryder Cup captain, Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi, said: "Thomas' constant quest for high performance and commitment to his illustrious career has made him a wonderful player, one who is well respected all over the world. Under his outstanding leadership, the European team, I am confident, is headed for an exciting time.

"He has been a familiar face at our tournament and memories of his victory in 2001 are as fresh as yesterday. We look forward to welcoming him back and hope he has a great week in Dubai."

Tickets are now on sale for the four-day Omega Dubai Desert Classic they can be bought online from the tournament website dubaidesertclassic.com.

The Omega Dubai Desert Classic is backed by OMEGA as the title sponsor and Emirates Global Aluminium PJSC as sponsor. The co-sponsors are: CNN, Drydocks World, Emirates NBD, Gulf News, JA Resorts & Hotels, Mercedes-Benz and wasl, while Dubai Duty Free, Neocasa Interiors and Motivate Publishing are the Patrons in golf in DUBAi's drive to showcase the emirate's vibrant golfing scene to a worldwide audience.