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January 28, 2014 | 12:22 p.m.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic: Tee times, 2nd round

Tiger Woods is headed to the Dubai Desert Classic to play alongside Rory McIlroy in the first two rounds; he missed the third-round cut at the Farmers Insurance Open (shown here).
Tiger Woods is headed to the Dubai Desert Classic to play alongside Rory McIlroy in the first two rounds; he missed the third-round cut at the Farmers Insurance Open (shown here).

Fellow Nike golfers Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will join defending champ Stephen Gallacher for the first two rounds of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic Thursday and Friday.

Woods will be looking to bounce back from his performance at Torrey Pines last weekend, where his third-round 79 sent him home early. Woods is a two-time winner of the event (2006 and 2008). McIlroy returns to the tee box after a T-2 showing at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, his first tournament of the year.

Among the field's heavy hitters is Henrik Stenson, who won the FedEx Cup and ...

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Alex Miceli
Rory McIlroy during his Australian Open win.
Rory McIlroy during his Australian Open win.

Tiger Woods' third-round 79 at the Farmers Insurance Open not only caught the eye of the golf public, but also the Las Vegas oddsmakers, who have installed Rory McIlroy as the favorite to win this week's Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

According to golfodds.com, McIlroy has the best odds, at 7-2, followed by Woods, a two-time winner of the event (2006 and '08), at 6-1, and Henrik Stenson, at 12-1.

Considering the extraordinary level of success for Woods at Torrey Pines (seven Farmers Insurance titles and the 2008 U.S. Open), his early exit was surprise enough to raise ...

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Brentley Romine
Jimmy Walker plays a shot on the first hole during the final round of the Sony Open.
Jimmy Walker plays a shot on the first hole during the final round of the Sony Open.

Despite coming off his first missed cut of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, Jimmy Walker remained on top of the U.S. Ryder Cup points standings while Farmers Insurance Open champion Scott Stallings jumped to 11th.

Walker, who has two wins and five finishes of T-21 or better in seven Tour starts this season, leads second-place Phil Mickelson by just less than 64 points. Mickelson withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open with muscle pain in his lower back.

The top 10 earn automatic spots on the U.S. team. Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker, Keegan Bradley, Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan ...

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Brentley Romine
Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia moved back into the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time since 2009 following his victory Sunday at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

The Spaniard entered the event in Doha, Qatar, ranked 11th in the world. The victory was his second in his last three ranked starts and the 11th European Tour title of his career.

The runner-up in Qatar, Mikko Ilonen, improved 29 spots, to 62nd, which puts him in position to qualify for the WGC-Accenture Match Play. The top 64 players in the world as of Feb. 10 earn match-play invitations ...

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Alistair Tait
Sergio Garcia won the 2014 Qatar Masters in a three-hole playoff.
Sergio Garcia won the 2014 Qatar Masters in a three-hole playoff.

A playoff was needed to settle the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, the second leg of the European Tour’s Desert Swing, and it was Sergio Garcia who came away with the victory.

Here are 5 Things you need to know from the 17th running of the $2.5 million Qatar Masters.

• • •

1. GARCIA WINS PLAYOFF: Sergio Garcia earned his 11th European Tour win and the $417,000 first-place check, but he needed three playoff holes against Finland’s Mikko Ilonen to secure the victory.

It was Garcia’s first European Tour win since the 2011 Andalucia Masters. It also made ...

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Rafa Cabrera-Bello plays a shot during the third round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello plays a shot during the third round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

DOHA, Qatar — Rafa Cabrera-Bello of Spain squandered a two-shot lead in finishing tied with Steve Webster of England on top of the leaderboard heading to the final round of the Qatar Masters on Friday.

Cabrera-Bello shot a 1-over-par 73 and was caught by Webster, who carded 70 at Doha Golf Club for three-round totals of 12-under 204.

They were only one stroke ahead of Adrien Saddier of France, the biggest mover with six birdies in his opening seven holes in a round of 64, South African Thomas Aiken (70) and Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen (68) on a packed leaderboard.

Just ...

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Categories: European
Brentley Romine
Rafa Cabrera-Bello during the second round of the Qatar Masters at Doha (Qatar) Golf Club.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello during the second round of the Qatar Masters at Doha (Qatar) Golf Club.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello birdied four of his final five holes en route to a 7-under 65 Thursday in the second round of the Qatar Masters.

At 13 under, Cabrera-Bello leads by two shots over second-place George Coetzee, who fired a second-round 69 at Doha (Qatar) Golf Club.

Cabrera-Bello finished second three years ago at this event and was fourth last week in Abu Dhabi. The Spaniard is searching for his third European Tour victory.

"I got on a very hot streak on my back nine with the putter, so that was very good," Cabrera-Bello said. "Playing here in the Middle East ...

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Brentley Romine
Graeme McDowell during the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla.
Graeme McDowell during the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla.

When Graeme McDowell makes his 2014 debut in a couple weeks at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. It will mark the first time he has competed at Pebble Beach since 2010.

Of course, that was the year that McDowell became the first European in 40 years to win the U.S. Open, holding off the likes of Gregory Havret, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods for the Northern Irishman's first major title.

"Playing the Pro-Am with my dad, back to Pebble for the first time since 2010, up to Brophy's (Tavern) in Carmel to see ...

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Cassie Stein
Brooks Koepka will play in the 2014 Honda Classic at PGA National Resort & Spa.
Brooks Koepka will play in the 2014 Honda Classic at PGA National Resort & Spa.

Brooks Koepka has earned a sponsor exemption into the Honda Classic on Feb. 28-March 2 at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Koepka, who grew up in Wellington, Fla., was a three-time All-American at Florida State. Since turning pro in 2012, he won four times on the Challenge Tour and earned an automatic promotion to the European Tour in 2013. He is No. 88 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

The 23-year-old has played in three majors: the 2012 U.S. Open, the 2013 Open Championship and the 2013 PGA Championship.

Koepka came close to winning the ...

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January 21, 2014 | 11:03 a.m.

Qatar Masters: Tee times, 1st and 2nd rounds

Bill Zimmerman
Henrik Stenson won both the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in 2013.
Henrik Stenson won both the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in 2013.

2013 FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai dual champion Henrik Stenson will play alongside reigning PGA Championship victor Jason Dufner and Luke Donald for the first two rounds of this week's Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Doha (Qatar) GC.

Other top groupings for Thursday and Friday include Ernie Els with Martin Kaymer and Peter Hanson; also last week's Euro winner, Pablo Larrazabal, with Sergio Garcia and Thomas Bjorn.

Here are more facts and figures about this week's Qatar Masters:

When/where: Thursday-Sunday, Doha (Qatar) GC.

At stake: $416,660 first prize in $2.5 million purse.

Short ...

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Brentley Romine
Kiradech Aphibarnrat during the Volvo Golf Champions.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat during the Volvo Golf Champions.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat officially won the Asian Tour's Order of Merit following Sunday's season finale, the King's Cup.

Aphibarnrat did not play in the finale in Hua Hin, Thailand, opting instead to the play the European Tour's Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, where he missed the cut. But the 24-year-old from Thailand still earned $1.12 million behind one victory and five other top-5 finishes, becoming just the second player on the Asian Tour to earn more than a million dollars in a single season.

"When I turned pro in 2009, I was just trying to keep ...

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Alex Miceli
Rory McIlroy talks to caddie Dave Renwick on the 18th green after he was informed of a rules violation during the third round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Rory McIlroy talks to caddie Dave Renwick on the 18th green after he was informed of a rules violation during the third round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Rory McIlroy’s two-shot rules gaffe in the third round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship eventually cost the Ulsterman the title Sunday, losing by a shot to Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal.

The unusual nature of what happened in the desert – veteran caddie Dave Renwick, while working for Ricardo Gonzalez, calling a rules violation on McIlroy after the round – resonated with players and caddies at the PGA Tour's Humana Challenge. Many ultimately wondered whether the caddie should have been involved in the issue at all.

Renwick witnessed McIlroy taking relief from a spectator’s walkway ...

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Alistair Tait
Pablo Larrazabal holes the winning putt on the par-5 18th during the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Pablo Larrazabal holes the winning putt on the par-5 18th during the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Pablo Larrazabal should buy Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy late Christmas presents. Both have been generous to the Spaniard this week.

If not for the largesse from Mickelson and McIlroy, Larrazabal might not have won the $2.7 million Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, his third European Tour victory and first since 2011.

Larrazabal picked up the $450,000 first-place check after a final-round 5-under 67 for a 72-hole total of 274.

McIlroy and Mickelson finished tied for second, one shot behind.

McIlroy fired a closing 4-under 68, while Mickelson posted a 69. They took ...

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Alistair Tait
Rory McIlroy will enter the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship three shots off of Craig Lee's lead after incurring a two-shot penalty on the second hole Saturday.
Rory McIlroy will enter the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship three shots off of Craig Lee's lead after incurring a two-shot penalty on the second hole Saturday.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates –– If not for what he called a "stupid" rules violation, Rory McIlroy would be playing in the last group in the final round of the $2.7 million Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

McIlroy incurred a two-stroke penalty for violation of Rule 25-1 ("Abnormal Ground Conditions"), turning an apparent 4-under 68 to a 70 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. He stands three strokes behind leader Craig Lee of Scotland, who shot 69 for a 12-under 204 total.

McIlroy took relief on the second hole when his ball came to rest on a spectator walkway. However ...

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Alistair Tait
Giles Morgan, global head of sponsorship and events for HSBC, poses for a portrait at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Giles Morgan, global head of sponsorship and events for HSBC, poses for a portrait at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – The R&A has consulted sponsors and stakeholders about taking the Open Championship to male-only clubs, according to Giles Morgan, HSBC’s global head of sponsorship and events.

An R&A spokesman confirmed the governing body established a consultation process after last year’s Open Championship.

“We promised a period of reflection immediately after last year’s championship, and this process is ongoing,” the spokesman said. “Naturally we have taken soundings within the game, and we will report the outcome of our deliberations in due course.”

HSBC is a long-term sponsor of the Open Championship ...

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