February 08, 2011
If it isn't apparent that the European Tour seems to be heading in the right direction, it should be now, because this week's Dubai Desert Classic just got a lot more interesting.
According to Pro Golf Talk, it's the first time the top-three ranked players in the world will be paired together in a qualifying round (Thursday and Friday) since the U.S. Open in 2008.
How good is this for golf? Well, unlike most European Tour events, every sports outlet will be watching this group closely. I'm sure "SportsCenter" will be giving highlights of an event it doesn't normally care about, and it'll be interesting to see how they all perform under such a spotlight.
Tiger has needed something to jump-start his golf game for more than a year now, and maybe being paired with both the guys that passed him in the world rankings could do that. Maybe the confidence of beating both Westwood and Kaymer for two straight days could bring Woods back to his old form. It isn't like he's heading to a golf tournament he doesn't like. Tiger has never finished out of the top five at Dubai.
Whatever happens, it'll be great to watch, and it was a great move by the European Tour. More pairings like this should happen, and happen soon (and it's worth noting that the European Tour isn't the only one doing it ... last week's Waste Management pairing of Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Bill Haas was a fantastic move as well).