In-form Westwood Aims to Turn Corner at Omega Dubai Desert Classic

LWestwood ODDC

Lee Westwood will be hoping to snap his run of near misses at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic this time around when the former world number one tees it up at Emirates Golf Club later this month.

Fresh from picking up his second win of 2014 at the Thailand Golf Championship in December, Westwood returns to Dubai in buoyant mood as he joins a strong field which includes the likes of defending champion Stephen Gallacher of Scotland and world number two Henrik Stenson among other big names who have won the iconic Arabian coffee pot-shaped trophy at least once.

The 41-year-old from Worksop came tantalizingly close to winning the tournament in 2012, but missed a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole, settling for second as was the case in 1999 and 2010. Judging by the way he played overall, it might just be history deferred.

"I have always enjoyed playing in this tournament. It's a big event that attracts some of the world's leading players each year. Hopefully, I will be able to get the job done this time," said the Englishman, who is one of the few golfers who has won tournaments on every major continent, including victories on the European Tour and the PGA Tour.

"I know the (Majlis) course well, and it's a good golf course. They set it up great," said Westwood, adding: "I know my game is good enough to win when I play well enough. That's what I try to do. After that it's out of your hands. All I can do is keep getting into contention," said Westwood, a three-time winner of the European Tour Player of the Year award.

With 41 professional wins, including 23 on the European Tour, Westwood will start as one of the favourites to win the longest-running European Tour event in the region which starts on January 29.

"You have to be at your best if you aim to succeed against a deeply talented field. The plan is the same: Just go out and enjoy," said the Ryder Cup star.

"If you look at the tournament's roll of honour, it includes so many great names and that's a tribute to the growing profile of the event, said Westwood who has been a regular to Dubai since making his appearance in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in 1994.

"Lee is a wonderful guy in every way and is a great ambassador of golf," said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi. "He has been competing regularly in our tournament since 1994 and that amply reflects on the bonds we share which is greater than just friendship," he said.

"His presence brings special energy to any tournament. We look forward to welcoming Lee and wish him the very best."

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 & Maritime World, Emirates NBD, Gulf News, Jebel Ali Resorts and Hotels, Mercedes 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.