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Steve Sands - January 27, 2012

Steve Sands
Getty Images
RABAT, MOROCCO - MARCH 18: Nick Dougherty of England waits to tee off at the 17th during the first round of the Hassan II Golf Trophy at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam on March 18, 2010 in Rabat, Morocco. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)  - 

Steve Sands is in Abu Dhabi this week covering the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship for Golf Channel. Sands spoke to the tournament organizers about the differences in the course setup this year as opposed to other years because in the past, the winning scores have been very low. The organizers said that there are 285 proud members at Abu Dhabi Golf Club and they were not very happy to see Martin Kaymer win at -24 last year. They tightened the fairways on 4 or 5 holes and grew the rough. The course is in perfect condition and the members should be very happy with this year’s edition of the event.

Rory McIlroy is embracing the pressure that comes with playing with Tiger Woods. Prior to this week, they had only played together a couple of times in unofficial events but they will not be playing together in the third round as Tiger will be paired with Richard Finch and Rory will be paired with someone else.

The reaction of the people on the ground in Abu Dhabi to the way that Tiger Woods is playing is amazing especially among people who have never seen him before. People both young and old are wide-eyed when they see Tiger for the first time and they yell his name out a lot. Tiger has been great with the fans this week as he has signed a number of autographs and has also shown his appreciation back to the fans who have been cheering for him.