European Golf Tour
PGA European - Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, January 17th through Sunday, January 20th
SITE: Abu Dhabi Golf Club (National Course), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
COURSE ARCHITECT: Peter Harradine (1998)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,605
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 410 Yds10 - Par 5 582 Yds
2 - Par 5 600 Yds11 - Par 4 417 Yds
3 - Par 4 439 Yds12 - Par 3 186 Yds
4 - Par 3 174 Yds13 - Par 4 414 Yds
5 - Par 4 469 Yds14 - Par 4 490 Yds
6 - Par 4 469 Yds15 - Par 3 177 Yds
7 - Par 3 200 Yds16 - Par 4 475 Yds
8 - Par 5 597 Yds17 - Par 4 483 Yds
9 - Par 4 456 Yds18 - Par 5 567 Yds
36 3,814 Yds36 3,791 Yds
Annual:  8th
Television:  Golf Channel - Wednesday -- 10:30 p.m.-8 a.m. (et),
  - Friday -- 2:30-8 a.m. (et),
  - Saturday/Sunday -- 4-8 a.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Robert Rock
Runner-Up:  Rory McIlroy
Tournament Record:  264 (Martin Kaymer, 2011)
54-Hole Record:  197 (Paul Casey, 2009)
36-Hole Record:  131 (Martin Kaymer, 2008)
Course Record:  62 (Henrik Stenson, 2006)
Total Purse:  $2,700,000
Shares:  1st Place - $450,000; 2nd Place - $300,000; 3rd Place - $169,020
2012 Finish
Robert Rock275George Coetzee278
Rory McIlroy276Matteo Manassero278
Tiger Woods277Four players at279
Thomas Bjorn277
Graeme McDowell277
Past Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2012Robert Rock (275) -- Rory McIlroy
2011Martin Kaymer (264) -- Rory McIlroy
2010Martin Kaymer (267) -- Ian Poulter
2009Paul Casey (267) -- Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer
2008Martin Kaymer (273) -- Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood
2007Paul Casey (271) -- Peter Hanson, Miguel Angel Jimenez
2006Chris DiMarco (268) -- Henrik Stenson

Top Contenders in the Field
Robert Rock---T-59---T-47mcmcWon
Rory McIlroy------T-11T-53rd2nd2nd
Thomas BjornT-24T-47T-67mcT-43mcT-3
Tiger Woods------------------T-3
Matteo Manassero------------73rdT-37T-6
George Coetzee------------------T-6
Francesco MolinariT-38T-66T-39T-10T-13T-8T-8
Paul LawriemcT-20T-30T-20T-27mcT-8
Thorbjorn Olesen------------------T-8
Anders HansenT-30------T-15T-8T-18T-14
G. Fdez-CastanoT-64mcT-43T-50mcmcT-17
Jamie Donaldsonmc---T-23T-50T-21T-11T-30
Johan Edfors---mcT-43T-542nd61stT-30
Anthony WallT-45T-29T-174thT-37T-11T-35
Peter HansonT-61T-2T-43T-10T-11mcT-35
Padraig Harrington---T-5T-11T-5---mcT-35
Richie Ramsay---------mcmcmcT-48
Richard GreenT-20T-29T-17T-26T-13T-31T-63
Martin Kaymer---mcWonT-2WonWonmc
Branden Grace------------------mc
Scott Jamieson------------------mc
Paul CaseyT-45WonmcWonT-27T-18---
Jason Dufner---------------------
Ernie Els---------------------
Justin Rose---------------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Tiger Woods
Darkhorse - Thongchai Jaidee
Last Week's Pick to Win (Henrik Stenson) - Finished tied for 22nd
Last Week's Darkhorse (Scott Jamieson) - Finished 2nd
The European Tour travels to the United Arab Emirates this week for the eighth year of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which boasts an outstanding field, including three of the top-5 players in the world. Rory McIlroy (1), Tiger Woods (2) and Justin Rose (5) are making their season debuts this week.

McIlroy is coming off a year which saw him win five times between the PGA and European Tours, including his second major title at the PGA Championship. He won the money title on both tours and has a substantial lead for the top spot in the world rankings. McIlroy has never won this event, but has finished in the top-five the last four years (T-5 in 2009, 3rd in 2010, 2nd in 2011, 2nd in 2012) and tied for 11th in 2008.

Woods won three times in 2012 and jumped back to No. 2 in the world. When he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA Tour in March, it was his first victory since 2009. Woods finished second to McIlroy on the PGA Tour money list.

Martin Kaymer will be looking for his fourth victory at this event. He won in 2008, 2010 and 2011, and finished tied for second in 2009. This week, Kaymer can join Woods, Tom Watson, Bernhard Langer, Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo as the only players to win the same European Tour event at least four times.

Last year, Robert Rock trumped some of the best players in the world, including McIlroy and Woods, to win by one stroke over McIlroy and two over Woods. Rock shot rounds of 69-70-66-70 to finish the championship at 13-under- par 275.

In 2011, Kaymer fired four rounds in the 60s to repeat as champion. Kaymer cruised to an 8-stroke win over McIlroy and set a new tournament scoring record, finishing at 24-under-par 264 to break the old mark by three shots at Abu Dhabi Golf Club's National Course.

Despite a 2-over 74 in the final round of 2008, Kaymer walked away with his first European Tour title. Kaymer established a new 36-hole record at 131. He became the youngest German winner in European Tour history at 23 years and 24 days old. Langer previously was the youngest German to win at 23 years and 38 days old when he won the 1980 Dunlop Masters.

American Chris DiMarco shot 63-67 over the final two rounds in 2006 with his wife, Amy, as his caddie to win. DiMarco finished at 20-under-par 268 for his first win on the European Tour. It was the first European Tour event DiMarco played outside the four major championships and the World Golf Championship events. It was also his first win anywhere since the 2002 Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour. DiMarco has not won a tournament since winning here in 2006.

This is the first of a three-week stay in the Gulf for the European Tour, followed by the Commercialbank Qatar Masters and Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Paul Lawrie will defend his title next week in Qatar.

01/15 15:38:24 ET

As of January 15, 2013, at 03:38 PM ET