Robert Rock produced his best-ever performance to win the Dhabi Championship – but it’s the form of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods that really caught the eye.
Despite McIlroy and Woods finishing one and two shots behind the Englishman respectively, both showed enough over the four days to raise expectations for this spring’s Masters.
McIlroy produced an excellent final round 69 to give himself a chance of victory after his disappointing second round in which he incurred a two-shot penalty for sweeping sand off his line when off the green.
Meanwhile, after looking somewhere approaching his best during the first three rounds, Woods was short of form on the final day and scrambled his way to a level-par 70.
The manner in which he was able to remain in the hunt despite his poor form though will ultimately be encouraging for the 14-times major champion who is in the midst of some drastic changes to his swing.
Despite there being several big tournaments between now and the Masters, the year’s first major remains the target for Woods and it would take a brave punter to rule him out.
He is currently the 4/1 favourite to win at Augusta for the fifth time which, while it may have looked a tad too short before the Abu Dhabi tournament, now looks well worth consideration.
However, McIlroy also showed he is carrying on his good form from last year and backing him at 8/1 to win his first Masters title also looks tasty.
Meanwhile, the top two ranked golfers in the world – Luke Donald and Lee Westwood – were rather underwhelming in the tournament and they are out at 16/1 and 14/1 respectively to bag a maiden Masters title.
It’s Woods and McIlroy who look most likely to be wearing the Green Jacket though and everything is set up for this to be a thrilling year of golf.