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Quiros chases Middle East sweep in Abu Dhabi
Alvaro Quiros is aiming to become the first golfer to complete a clean sweep of the European Tour's four Middle East events when he takes part in this week's Abu Dhabi Championship.
January 24, 2012 1:55 by Reuters
The big-hitting Spaniard though has not struck a ball in anger since winning the season-ending Dubai World Championship at the start of December and is feeling a bit rusty.
“In contrast to past years I have not practised as much over the Christmas period as I have done before at the start of a new season and that’s because I just felt I needed a long break after Dubai,” Quiros told Reuters in an interview on Monday.
“It was not as though I was tired or exhausted after that victory, it’s just the tour is starting far too early and every single year is finishing later,” said Quiros who also won the 2011 Dubai Desert Classic and the 2009 Qatar Masters.
“It is the reason I did not play last week (at the Volvo Golf Champions) in South Africa as it would have meant two separate long-haul flights.”
Despite his previous triumphs, the 29-year-old was at a loss to explain the reason for his successes in the Gulf region.
“Everybody seems to go crazy about how well I have played in the Middle East but I feel as though I haven’t played that well over here,” said Quiros who is also due to compete in Qatar next week and at the Dubai Desert Classic the week after.
“The greens are always very tough for the three weeks over here and the wind can be tough too. Qatar is a longer course and it suits my driving but here in Abu Dhabi I have not finished in the top-10 in the five years I have played here.
“If you analyse it I honestly don’t think the courses are an advantage for me,” added the world number 22.
Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer -the top four in the world rankings – are all competing here this week as is former world number one Tiger Woods who is making his first appearance in Abu Dhabi.
“It’s good for the tour and all the players whenever Tiger comes to contest a tour event,” said Quiros.
“Tiger’s not in the same position in the rankings he was this time last year when he played in the Dubai Classic but like me he won his last tournament,” the Spaniard added referring to the American’s victory at the Chevron World Challenge in California in December.
“Any time you can finish ahead of Tiger in a tournament you have to consider you have played pretty well.” (By Bernie McGuire; Editing by Tony Jimenez) *image from wegetgolf.com