After the Tiger build-up, the first day at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic gets off to a flyer!
Rory Mcilroy signaled his early intent yesterday shooting into the lead with a pace setting -7. Rory stated that the early start suited him in a previous interview and he certainly lived up to that statement.
The buzz was all about the big 3 going out together and I managed to follow them with the bustling crowds for the first 9 holes. They were all playing at a steady pace, but it was woods who looked the most out of sorts. Personally, It was quite a buzz to watch these guys close-up in action.
From my own point of view, seeing Tiger in action, both on the course and around the media center was an interesting experience. With all the reports about Tiger that are constantly bounded around, it was good to see a few different sides of his character in the few hours that I had been watching. You can see he is clearly out of sorts from the player who was untouchable a few years ago. Some of his body language is different and he has mentioned swing changes and that his game is not there yet. It’s clear to see his top form is a little way off.
Tiger’s eagle on the last hole yesterday in a mixed bag was a real bonus and will surely keep him in a positive mood for today.
Being present in his press conference, it was good to hear him speak on a range of matters obviously dodging a few pressing questions. Then there was another side to Woods I witnessed that I am not even sure many people are aware of. After his round, him and close friend O’ Meara conducted a very lighthearted and Golf clinic on the driving range in front of a few hundred lucky fans. Woods was talking openly to the crowd about some of the shots he played and why he played them. He also demonstrated these shots and few techniques, including one touching moment where he mentioned his father and how he taught him a particular set of swing movements. A few questions from the crowd where also thrown out to Tiger and he answered frankly and honestly including one comment on why did you change your swing? Tiger replied that he had changed his swing 2 times in the past and he went on to win many tournaments after these changes both times! Of course he is still a little illusive and has issues including security, but it was a pleasant surprise for me to see this side of him and be so close.
I am also keeping a close eye on the local talent from the UAE in the form of qualifying Pro Callum Nicoll, please take a look at his daily blog on how he is progressing in the Callum Nicoll Omega Dubai Desert Classic Blog.
The UAE Amatuer Golfer Khaled Attieh also had a positive opening round and was not phased by being in with the pro’s shooting +3, lets hop both the guys can push on to make the cut.
Day 2 is already well under way now and it is boiling up to be a good one! More on this later…