Life is a lot easier when you play badly and then all of a sudden you get in contention and win one. No one gets on your back. When you finish runner-up seven times, everyone is asking, 'Why aren't you winning?' It's much more fun when you jump into a win out of the blue. It's a much tougher game when you play consistently well.

Dubai Desert Classic

Entry Date:
Mar 7, 2004

Dubai for a premier tournament
Dubai is always an interesting event – not to mention the fact the place is great for a holiday! You are guaranteed a super venue at the Emirates Golf Club and if the golf doesn’t go so well, then there are a lot of things happening around the event. It’s the place to be and nice to be out here.

History shows…
I have done well in the event in the past, finishing second at the Emirates to Thomas Bjorn in 2000. But apart from that – when I finished up 20-under for the week – I have never really set the course alight and I’ll be intrigued to see how I get on this year.
Twelve months ago I never really got into contention, having opened with a 73. In the end, I finished in a share of 47th spot and I will be looking for an improvement on that this time around.
As I say, I’m looking forward to it, although I’m not 100 per cent sure how the golf will go. But it’s certainly a tournament you want to play in. It’s a premier event on the European Tour schedule. Tiger Woods is there and that factor alone makes it an important event to play well in.

The Emirates
It is one of the few courses we play on the European Tour with firm, fast greens. We don’t experience such conditions enough. Obviously, though, the weather that we get in Europe means it’s difficult to get firm, fast greens but the Emirates produces them every year Such beautifully fast surfaces usually suit a ball-striker and one thing is guaranteed: whoever wins this week has to play really well.
The course will play around the 7,200-yard mark and has relatively wide fairways while the greens are on the large side and relatively flat, but not always straightforward to read.
With all its par-5s reachable in two, there can be some seriously low scoring at the Emirates. However, if the wind gets up – which could well happen on at least one day – then it becomes a tougher proposition.

Swing thoughts
Anyone who read my thoughts in the wake of the Accenture knows how I’m feeling about my swing at the moment. At times it was a little bit shaky last week and I know it needs some fine-tuning. But it is still relatively early in the season – especially for me – and when I set foot on the course on Thursday I will be concentrating hard on scoring. After all, when you’re in tournaments that’s the most crucial thing.
Fingers crossed then for a good week.