Dubai Desert Classic contest offers amateurs chance to play with Woods

tiger woods
Getty Images
Anyone in the world with a valid handicap can register to win a spot in Tiger Woods' group at the Dubai Desert Classic pro-am next February.
Associated "Press


Published: Thursday, December 23, 2010 | 8:06 p.m.

One lucky amateur golfer will get the chance to play alongside Tiger Woods in the pro-am tournament that takes place ahead of the Dubai Desert Classic in February.

Woods, who is making a return to European Tour event after a two-year hiatus, often plays pro am tournaments but amateurs generally pay for their place and are not guaranteed a chance to play with the second-ranked Woods.

In the case of Dubai, there is no charge to register and the player will be part of his foursome.

Anyone in the world with a “valid handicap” can register, and the winner will be picked two weeks ahead of the Feb. 9 tournament at the Emirates Golf Club. Men must have a handicap of 18 or below and women 26.

The aim of the competition is to boost support for golf in Dubai, where tournaments routinely struggle to attract a following, especially among Emiratis. Beyond stars like Woods, the galleries for many European golfers are often in single digits and the grandstand behind the 18th hole has plenty of empty seats until the final two days.

“The very intention behind having this online draw is to encourage amateurs to be part of the fun,” said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of the company golf in Dubai, which is organizing the tournament.

“Playing alongside Tiger is a dream of every player,” he said. “I am sure the lucky one, male or female, will learn quite a few things about the game just (by) watching him play, up close and personal.”

Woods won the Desert Classic in 2006 and 2008 and has never finished lower than fifth since his first appearance in 2001.

He missed the 2009 tournament due to a knee injury and was absent last year amid the ongoing turmoil surrounding his personal life.