Abu Dhabi start for Stenson

Henrik Stenson’s first tournament of 2014 will be at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, tournament organisers confirmed on Tuesday.

The world number three has a great record in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) having won the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai last month to go with his titles at the 2006 Qatar Masters and the 2007 Dubai Desert Classic.

“2013 finished on a high in the UAE and it would be great if 2014 started on a high in the UAE,” the Swede admitted on Tuesday.

“The country was a fantastic home for us for eight years and I’ve always enjoyed playing here.”

The Abu Dhabi Golf Championship is the one title in the UAE that has eluded the Swede, although he did finish as the runner-up one shot behind Chris DiMarco in 2006 and tied for second alongside Lee Westwood in 2008, albeit four shots behind eventual winner Martin Kaymer.

“There’s a falcon-sized gap in my trophy cabinet that I’d dearly love to fill,” Stenson continued.

“Not just because of the 2006 and 2008 near misses but so I can become the first player to complete the sweep of Gulf titles.”

“The National course gets a bit tougher each year and the Championship has become one of the most coveted on the Tour, so it would be great to tee off the season in style here.”

Stenson joins an already star-studded field for the event, which includes Open champion Phil Mickelson, US Open champion Justin Rose, two-time major winner Rory McIlroy, former world number one Luke Donald as well as Kaymer, Matteo Manassero, Sergio Garcia, and Jamie Donaldson.