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Golfing giants set for Abu Dhabi

January 16, 2013

Three of the world's top five golfers sampled the delights of a traditional Arabian welcoming ceremony as the new  2013 golf season burst into life with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship (January 17-20).

Under the watchful eye of a camel, World No 1 and last year's runner-up Rory McIlroy, World No 2 and 14 time major winner Tiger Woods and World No 5 Justin Rose joined locals for a traditional coffee pouring ceremony, the customary welcome for travellers visiting the United Arab Emirates.

The trio are some of the leading lights amongst a high-class field at Abu Dhabi Golf Club for this week's HSBC's $2.7 million flagship event which is organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.

McIlroy said: "I get a real buzz playing golf in the Emirates and enjoy getting a taste of local culture - we always receive a warm welcome in the Middle East which is becoming increasingly important in world golf."

Woods, who finished tied third in last year's event, added: "My season starts here and I can't wait to get going. It's another world class field here in Abu Dhabi and it's going to be a tough week - whoever wins is going to have to play very well."

Rose agreed, saying: "This is my Abu Dhabi debut but I've heard a lot about this event from the other guys on tour and I'm looking to make a flying start to the year."

HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship and Events Giles Morgan: "The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is our flagship event in the Middle East and it's important for our global golf portfolio to start the golfing year with such a star-studded field.

"We know the players enjoy experiencing local culture and I'm sure a taste of traditional hospitality will give them a great start to the week. This event has become the jewel in the crown of the Desert Swing and it promises to be another superb tournament."

In addition to McIlroy, Woods and Rose, Open champion Ernie Els is contesting the Championship for the first time, while Jason Dufner, the world number nine, is making his debut in Abu Dhabi. With triple Falcon Trophy winner, Martin Kaymer, hunting title number four and England's Paul Casey eyeing a third title, Ireland's Padraig Harrington, Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke and defending champion, Robert Rock, are also in the region's leading international field.

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