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Robert Rock Wins HSBC Abu Dahbi Championship

With this win - Robert Rock

Robert Rock has won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship by one shot over Rory McIlroy. Roberts final round 70 earned him a winning total of -13 under par and edged out Rory McIlroy whose last round 69 left him on -12 under par for the tournament.

Tiger Woods final round of 72 left him two shots in arrears at -11 under par, the once legendary last round charge never appeared. Still with his appearance money he still took home more cash than anybody else. As I said in an earlier blog, just a well paid vacation for him. What is evident is that although Tiger is playing good golf, he is still not the world beater he once was.

Finishing with Tiger on -11 under par were Thomas Bjorn and Graeme McDowell, who both showed good form in this tournament and that bodes well for the rest of the season for them.

Lee Westwood finished with -6 for a share of 17th place and world number one Luke Donald could only muster a total of  -1 and finished in 48th spot. The first time for a long time that Luke has not finished in the top ten. I hope that’s not a sign of things to come for him or his position at #1 could be in jeopardy.

Tiger & Rock Lead after Day 3 of Abu Dhabi Golf Championship

Tiger Woods and Robert Rock share the top of the leader board after round three of the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship on Saturday. Both players are -11 under par after shooting super scores of sixty six, Woods round was bogey free. Tiger was very satisfied with his steady round; “I didn’t do a lot of things right, but I didn’t do a lot of things wrong today. It was just very consistent. I made a couple of putts here and there, but it was just a very consistent round of golf.

Expressing his satisfaction with the tournament Tiger commented; “It was a nice atmosphere today; people were into it. Each day, the gallery has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger. It was fun and you could see that everyone was excited to be out there. The weather is perfect to come out and watch the event. It’s a great leaderboard, so I think everyone is happy.”

Tiger also acknowledged that he had a fight on his hands to win the trophy; “There’s too many guys up there right now. There’s a ton of guys with a chance to win. We have not separated ourselves from the field. I need to go out there and shoot a solid round of golf, and I can’t go out there and shoot even par and expect to win. I’ve got to go out there and go get it.”

 

Robert was extremely happy that he had achieved a last round pairing with Tiger; “That’s an opportunity not to be missed. I bogeyed the 16th hole and thought it might have cost me. So two birdies to finish put me back in there. I just want to experience it. How many chances I’ll get to do that, it’s not clear.”

Rory McIlroy is at -9 under par, tied for third place with Paul Lawrie, Francessco Molinari and Peter Hanson, all of these players have a chance of winning this tournament if Woods and Rock do not perform at their best on Sunday. Rory said about playing alongside Tiger;

“It’s a great atmosphere, as you can hear, and it’s a great buzz playing with Tiger. “I’ll miss the crowds and miss the buzz tomorrow even though I’ll be in the second-to-last group, so I’ll still get a bit of it.”

He is still feeling confident about his chances; “I feel pretty comfortable, and I’ve been hitting a lot of great iron shots and I feel like the putting has been pretty good. So hopefully I can just keep that going tomorrow and maybe get off to a fast start and put pressure on the guys in front of me.”

Two shots further back on -7 under par are Italian whiz kid Matteo Manassero and Graeme Mcdowell, but they are probably too far back to mount a serious challenge. Golf is a funny game so anything can happen, I look forward to Sunday’s final round.

 

 

Rory McIlroy incurs a two-stroke penalty in Abu Dahbi

Rory McIlroy incurred a two stroke penalty during the second round of the HSBC tournament in Abu Dahbi. He was just off the green in two at the ninth hole when he bent down to brush away some sand that was not on the putting surface, this schoolboy error was punished after a referee had been called into action. He said about the incident;

“Just wasn’t thinking, turned a routine 4 into a 6 there and just sort of undone all the great work to get back to even par.”

Rory was not having a good day having started badly, being  in two bunkers on the first hole and then firing over the green at the third, taking two more shots to make it back to the putting surface and sadly carded a double bogey. He ended the day at three under par as a result, alongside Tiger Woods and two ahead of Luke Donald, but importantly four behind joint leaders Robert Karlsson and Thorbjorn Olesen.

Rory McIlroy two-stroke penalty dents title hopes at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Photo: AP

 

Lee Westwood spent the day struggling with a neck problem, he survived to card level par with another 72, but he may have to withdraw if the pain increases, saying;

“I’ve had it for about a month, but this is the first time I’ve played three days in a row since. The pain goes down into my elbow and it feels like somebody is driving a needle in there. If I’d hit it in the long rough I might have had to think about it, but hopefully I’ll be ok tomorrow.”

 

Martin Kaymer, the two-time defending champion, shot a 73 and finished at 6-over to miss the cut by four strokes.

Tiger Woods is still making steady progress and is happy with his position at the half way stage;

“I’m only two back. We have 36 holes to go and there’s a lot of guys that have got a chance to win this golf tournament, so certainly I need to do my job and progress up that leaderboard and see what happens.”

 

Tiger Woods only plays for money

Tiger Woods acknowledged Tuesday that being paid an appearance fee played a significant role in deciding to open his 2012 season in the Middle East instead of California. He is making his season debut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, which begins Thursday at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. When asked if appearance money was the major factor in his decision making, Woods agreed it was, “I’d have to say yes, it certainly does.”

The tournament purse in Abu Dhabi of $2.7 million, is less than half of what is being offered this week on the PGA Tour at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, but only slightly more than what Woods is believed to be receiving just for showing up here.

During the interview Woods also bemoaned having to answer questions about Hank Haney’s revealing book;  “Certainly it’s something I have to deal with. I get asked at press conferences what these guys have done, and that’s just part of it. Am I disappointed; yes. Frustrated, certainly, because I have to answer the questions. It’s been awhile since I haven’t had to answer those questions and I guess I’ll have to continue doing it. I think I’ve answered all the questions on that.”

I wonder if any of the other players, like world number one Luke Donald were given huge sums of money just to turn up in the middle east on a paid vacation.

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