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Darren Clarke commits to Dubai Desert Classic

Northern Irishman Darren Clarke will join Tiger Woods and defending champion Ernie Els in a strong field for March's Dubai Desert Classic, tournament organisers said on Thursday.

Clarke, who played in Europe's dramatic Ryder Cup victory over the United States last year, will face team mate Colin Montgomery as well as world number one Woods and South African Els, the British Open champion, in the European Tour event at the Emirates Golf Club from March 6 to 9.

"Clarke is one of our most popular players and we are delighted he has signed up for yet another Dubai Desert Classic," Mohammed Ali Alabbar, chairman of the tournament committee, said on Thursday.

"The Ryder Cup was undoubtedly one of the greatest sporting moments of the past 20 years. It was an occasion where the European team needed its big names to lead by example. Darren Clarke was one such player."

While the Ryder Cup was the undoubted playing highlight of 2002, earlier in the year he won the English Open for a third time in four years.

It was a win that owed a lot to his consistency, something Clarke has struggled with in the past.

"Sometimes I'm like someone who built a fire but forgot to put a chimney in," he said. "I need a way to let the smoke out or I get very frustrated."

The 2002 Dubai Desert Classic also saw the amiable Northern Irishman breach the top ten, finishing in joint seventh -- 10 shots behind winner Els.

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