EurAsia Cup captains Clarke and Singh confirmed for Omega Dubai Desert Classic

DARREN CLARKE-MOHAMED JUMA BUAMAIM

European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke and celebrated Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh will renew their healthy rivalry when they compete alongside a strong star cast in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club from February 4 to 7.

The pair returns to Dubai imbued with a new sense of optimism having been honoured with the captaincy of Europe and Asia for this year's EurAsia Cup to be held at Kuala Lumpur's Glenmarie Golf and Country Club from January 15-17.

Perennial crowd favourites and long-time friends enjoy a special affinity with the Omega Dubai Desert Classic as 2011 Open champion Clarke, who is also the patron of the MENA Golf Tour, will be making his 21st appearance in the event and Singh, a golf in DUBAi ambassador, his 20th in the longest-running European Tour event in the region.

"The aim is to try and win the tournament. I know I am close, but when it comes to winning a tournament, it also depends on the mindset that week and how you deal with the pressure," said Singh, a former Asian Tour Number One who has won 20 times around the world including four European Tour victories.

"I have won tournaments in different parts of the world, but winning in Dubai would be special," said the most successful Indian golfer. "Being an ambassador of golf in DUBAi, the tournament is very close to my heart. I have always felt very good being there. In fact, I call it a home away from home.

"It's a great honour to be part of the 'golf in DUBAi' team. They have done a tremendous job in raising the golfing profile of this brilliant city. They're lovely people and look after us so well," said Singh, who celebrated his 44th birthday in December.

Fitter and stronger after stepping up his exercise regime, Clarke is equally excited about his participation in the event, promoted and organised by golf in DUBAi.

"I have seen Dubai grow dramatically over the years with my regular appearances in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic," said the popular Ulsterman, whose impressive CV features 22 wins worldwide, including 14 on the European Tour, in addition to making five consecutive Ryder Cup appearances between 1997 and 2006.

"I am more comfortable with myself, just trying to be a lot more consistent. I just want to play some good golf. I am going to continue working on all the things I have been recently.

"My policy is to work hard and just keep going," said Clarke, who in his new role as the Patron of the MENA Golf Tour provides strategic input into the planning, implementation and management of dynamic programmes that leverage the game of golf.

"There has been a lot of fresh talent coming up through the ranks over the last few years, but the opportunities are very limited for young professional golfers to develop and showcase their skills on a global basis," said the 47-year-old veteran, who also featured in a MENA Golf Tour event at Ras Al Khaimah last year.

About The EurAsia Cup, he said: "It is going to give me a great opportunity to see a lot of potential Ryder Cup players in a match play and team situation, and looking to the future, I think any prospective Ryder Cup Captain would relish the opportunity to put some pairings together and see how guys play together and bond."

Calling the pair great friends of Dubai, Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf DUBAi, said: "We look forward to welcoming Darren and Jeev and I am confident their wealth of experience and global profile will bring special energy to the tournament, now in its 27th year.

"My congratulations to both of them for being appointed captains for the EurAsia Cup, an honour they thoroughly deserved. Being good friends, I am sure they will relish the challenge."

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 and 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.