Swing Time on European Tour


The European Tours desert swing begins this week as the top players in the game converge on the Middle East for three top class tournaments. As always, Golf Channel has exclusive coverage in the U.S. and Japan of all 12 rounds.
Heres a preview:
2007 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship Abu Dhabi Golf Championship
Date: Jan. 15-18
Venue: Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, UAE
TV: Golf Channel, 9:30 a.m. ' 12:30 p.m. EST Thurs.-Sun. (tape-delay)
Location: Situated on the Arabian/Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman between Oman and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates consists of seven Emirates, the largest of which is Abu Dhabi. The capital, Abu Dhabi city, is located on a low-lying island in the Persian/Arabian Gulf. The government of Abu Dhabi is beginning to diversify its business, adding commerce and tourism to the portfolio in recent years. One marketing strategy has been the creation of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, first played in 2006 and won by Chris DiMarco.
Defending champion: Martin Kaymer
How he did it: A four-shot victory over Henrik Stenson to collect his maiden tour title.
Headliners: Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomerie, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Henrik Stenson, Aaron Baddeley, Trevor Immelman, Sergio Garcia.
Favorite: Sergio Garcia
Outsider: Rory McIlroy
My Pick: Oliver Wilson

2007 Commercial Bank Quatar Masters Commercial Bank Qatar Masters
Date: Jan. 22-Jan. 25
Venue: Doha Golf Club, Doha, Qatar
TV: Golf Channel, 9:30 a.m. ' 12:30 p.m. EST Thurs.-Sun. (tape-delay)
Location: Doha is the capital city of the small Arab nation of Qatar (pronounced between the English cutter and gutter but does not rhyme with guitar). The current Amir, Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, took power from his father in a bloodless coup in 1995. Since then the country has been growing economically from oil and natural gas revenues. The country is a peninsular in the Persian/Arabian Gulf, slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut, and is home to the Arab television channel Al-Jazeerra, which means peninsular in Gulf Arabic. The Qatar Masters was first played in 1998 and won by Scotlands Andrew Coltart. Other notable champions include: Ernie Els (2005) and Retief Goosen (2007).
Defending champion: Adam Scott
How he did it: Closed with a final-round 61 to beat Henrik Stenson by three strokes for his second Qatar Masters title, the first coming in 2002.
Headliners: Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Lee Westwood, Boo Weekley, Robert Karlsson, Brandt Snedeker, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott.
Favorite: Sergio Garcia
Outsider: Charl Schwartzel
My Pick: Henrik Stenson

2007 Dubai Desert Classic Dubai Desert Classic
Date: Jan. 29-Feb. 1
Venue: Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, UAE
TV: Golf Channel, 8:30 a.m. ' 12:30 p.m. EST Thurs.-Sun. (tape delay)
Location: Dubai is one of the seven Emirates. In 1989, under then executive director Ken Schofields policy of global expansion in search of winter playing conditions, the first Dubai Desert Classic was played on the European Tour schedule. The first installment was won by Mark James and has been played every year since, except 1991 when the Gulf War caused the tournament to be cancelled.
Defending Champion: Tiger Woods (not in the field)
How he did it: Final-round 65 to win by one shot over Martin Kaymer.
Headliners: Henrik Stenson, Ernie Els, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood
Favorite: Henrik Stenson
Outsider: Ross Fisher
My Pick: Ernie Els
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