Here’s a quick roundup of second-round stories from European media with “ringside seats” for the heavyweight golf event at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic:
Lawrence Donegan, the Guardian: Tiger claimed a minor victory at the halfway point of the Dubai Desert Classic, beating his playing partners, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, over two rounds, but his hopes of a more significant triumph along his road to redemption are now blocked by Rory McIlroy . . . McIlroy, for one, is unlikely to step aside and allow Woods to claim the prize. The Irishman, on 11 under for the tournament, has a four-shot advantage over the American and a sense that this tournament is something of a personal property.
Derek Lawrenson, Daily Mail: Take your pick from any number of compelling storylines at the Dubai Desert Classic on Friday. Only the churlish, for example, would begrudge Tiger Woods his due for the manner in which he pieced together sufficient elements of his fragmented game to craft a marvellous 66. How about the heartening manner in which Sergio Garcia is recovering from an even greater loss of form to be one shot off the halfway lead? But for sheer box office entertainment and an insight into the sport in its purest form, it is hard to beat Rory McIlroy when he plays like he has for the first 36 holes. After some difficult times in America last summer it is clear the 21-year-old Northern Irishman has got his mojo back and the season dawns with unlimited promise.
James Corrigan, The Independent: It takes a lot to overshadow Tiger Woods when he is reprising an act once so familiar in sport and slicing through the field with a sizzling 66. But Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia threatened to do just that as the Desert Classic reached halfway here yesterday. What cheek they both showed to even try to steal the spotlight after Woods, the world No 3, had put his playing partners, the world No 1 and 2, in their place. But when McIlroy is in this form he can turn anybody's eye. And Garcia? When it comes to coming back from a personal crisis even Woods, himself, must call the Spaniard's resurgence heart-warming.