Dustin Johnson determined to deliver on his return to Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is looking to continue his recent winning form this week as the American gets set for Round 1 of Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Johnson, who returns to the National Course for the second time, is eager to make sure he finds himself on the podium, having finished runner-up to Tommy Fleetwood last year: “I would love to win,” expressed Johnson. “I want to win every place that I play at. But, still, it’s four rounds. So for me when it comes to Sunday, I just want to be in a position where I have a chance to win.

“It’s a very good field,” he continued. “There’s a lot of great players in the field, so you know, I could have a really good week and still lose – that’s just how golf is. You lose a lot more times than you win, and it’s always going to be like that. I just want to go out and put myself in a position, that’s kind of all I can do.”

Two-time Abu Dhabi winner Paul Casey, who has returned for the first time since 2014 expressed his delight at not only being back in Abu Dhabi, but also his appreciation for the course: “What do they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Quite cheesy, but no, really, really cool to be back. The golf course looks superb. Played nine holes with Justin Rose yesterday, who is killing it. It actually feels pretty generous off the tee for me which feels pretty good and the greens feel large. I get a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling about this golf course.

“Boy, it seems long, like really long,” Casey added. “I was thinking, how did I shoot that when I won on some of these holes. The most exciting thing is just to get teeing off on Thursday, I think with Westwood and Danny Willett in front of the great crowds that we always have here.”

Fellow Brit Justin Rose continued to blossom towards the end of his 2017 campaign and will no doubt be looking to continue his strong run of form here in Abu Dhabi: “I think this is such a great place to start the season. Well, I guess the season’s underway, but to start the year. I think everyone’s come off somewhat of a break. Mentally I think there’s a little bit of a switch off around Christmas and new year. Everyone wants to let the brain go soft for a few weeks and then you sort of gear backup and this is just such a great place to start. The golf course here in Abu Dhabi is always in great shape. I think in the beginning part of the year, you kind of want to play in places where you know you’re going to have good weather, good course conditions and obviously against a strong field.”

Making his Abu Dhabi debut is Matt Kuchar, who is keen to see what the capital has to offer both on and off the course, said: “This is my first trip to the Middle East. A place I’ve always seen on TV, always kind of admired and so I wanted to see it for myself. My wife and I love travelling, love seeing new places, and this is one that certainly was on my list. We’re heading to the Louvre this afternoon, so looking forward to taking in some of the sites and being a tourist for a little bit. It’s been a great start.”

Talking about Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Kuchar said: “The clubhouse is spectacular. Never seen one quite like it before. The course? It’s a challenging driving golf course. There’s so many different doglegs and carries and different bunkers to try to challenge – or not challenge – that I feel like I may be learning exactly what lines to take and how much I need to try to bite off on some of the dogleg holes. I think course knowledge is one thing, and I think executing is another thing. You know, if I execute well, I think I’ll have a good week.”

Ahmed Al Musharrekh, winner of the Emirati qualification category is thrilled to have the chance to represent the UAE this week, joining some of the world’s best players in Abu Dhabi: “I am really proud to be here, all the hard work these past months has paid off. Being amongst the best of the best has given me the determination and focus needed ahead of such a great tournament, and it will be a huge honour once again to step out onto the course in my home country.”

Al Musharrekh will be playing alongside Scotsman Paul Lawrie in Round 1, as well as George Coetzee from South Africa, when they tee off a11.45am from tee 10.

The 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA will run from January 18 – January 21 with Abu Dhabi Sports Council looking to top this year’s turnout of over 69,000 spectators. The 2017 tournament grew the championship’s social media following by over 65% and the HD TV coverage, with a potential reach of almost half a billion viewers, allowed a global audience to watch the world’s best vie for the coveted Falcon Trophy and a share in the US $3 million prize purse.

Share this article
What's in the bag
Swing Sequence

Brian Harman Swing Sequence

By Jonathan Craddock, PGA Professional, Pete Cowen Academy The 2023 Open...

Wyndham Clark Swing Sequence

By Jonathan Craddock, PGA Professional, Pete Cowen Academy One of the...

Related articles

Lowry leads by two at The Open following tough second round

Ireland’s Shane Lowry holds a two-shot lead at the midpoint of...
2 days ago

Dubai-born Rayhan Thomas set to tee it up at International Series England

Dubai-born golfer Rayhan Thomas is set to tee it up at...
2 days ago

Major debutant Dan Brown cards stunning bogey-free 65 to lead The Open on day one

In the fading light, Major debutant Dan Brown sank a birdie...