DeChambeau primed for Dubai debut

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DUBAI -- His confidence on a high after swinging his way into record books, Bryson DeChambeau is primed for a fresh challenge when he makes his maiden appearance in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club Feb. 4-7.

Bringing his own flair and exuberance to the game, the 22-year-old Californian announced his arrival on the world stage in an emphatic manner when he won the U.S. Amateur in August earlier this year, becoming the fifth player to win the tournament and the NCAA individual title in the same year.

The achievement puts him in the elite company of Jack Nicklaus (1961), Phil Mickelson (1990), Tiger Woods (1996) and Ryan Moore (2004) as the only other players to win the NCAA and Amateur titles in one season.

"I'm in golf history, I can't believe it, but it's an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as these legends of the game," said DeChambeau, who sounded excited at the prospect of meeting and playing alongside some of the great players at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, fondly referred to as the Major of the Middle East.

"It will be my first visit to Dubai, but I have heard many good things about the city from fellow players and know the tournament attracts a very strong field each year.

"If you look at the roll of honors, it's so impressive with some of the greatest players in the game such as Seve Ballesteors, Ernie Els, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy becoming proud owners of the giant Arabian Coffee Pot that holds special significance to the players.

"It will feel nice to have my name written on a famous trophy, but I don't want to get ahead of time and will take things as they come. It would take something special to beat the challenge, but I will try my best and see what happens," said DeChambeau, who made his PGA Tour debut in June 2015 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, finishing in 45th place.

"All I know is that, it will be fun playing in Dubai and I am looking forward to visiting the city where so much golf action is happening. A big thank you to 'golf in DUBAi' for the invitation," said DeChambeau, who will join defending champion Rory McIlroy among other elite golfers in the field.

A physics major at Southern Methodist University in Texas, the strapping young prodigy with the mind of a scientist, has invented his own golf swing, playing every iron at the same length to cite an example of his innovative approach to the game.

"Bryson is an incredible talent, one who is not afraid to experiment with new things. His off-the-wall thinking has already yielded great results. We look forward to welcoming him to Dubai and hope he will return home richer in experience," said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of 'golf in DUBAi.'

"It has been our tradition to give young people the opportunity to be the best and we see Bryson as somebody who will not only fulfil his massive potential, but also demonstrate the quality of character, richness of spirit and strength of self-belief.

"Rory (McIlroy) also first played in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic as an amateur in 2006, and today he is a world-class player because of his hard work and dedication. I am sure his presence in the field will certainly be a big source of inspiration for Bryson," he added.

This article was from Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.