The strongest part of the European Tour schedule is early in the year when it makes its “desert swing” through Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain and Dubai. Next year, it figures to get even stronger by adding some of the best Americans.
Phil Mickelson is playing in Abu Dhabi. Tiger Woods will be going to the Dubai Desert Classic. And the real shocker: Steve Stricker is going to Qatar.
“I’ve never been over there,” Stricker said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
It is believed to be the first time in his career that Stricker has received appearance money. He will open next year with two weeks in Hawaii, take two weeks off before Qatar, return home and then defend at Riviera and head to the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
“Instead of forcing myself to play in events I usually don’t play, I thought I would go over and work on my game,” Stricker said. “Kenny Perry went last year and said it was a great time. They get a good field. I think a couple of Americans are thinking about going over.”
Qatar is held opposite the Phoenix Open. Woods is going to Dubai, which is the same week as Pebble Beach.