Stenson aims to end Abu Dhabi desert drought

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Henrik Stenson enjoyed a landmark 2016 and is determined to begin the new year with an elusive success at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The Swede produced one of the greatest performances of all time to win the Open at Royal Troon - his maiden major success - in July and also claimed silver at the Rio Olympics.

He finished third last time out in Abu Dhabi, two shots behind winner Rickie Fowler and level with Rory McIlroy, who was forced to withdraw this year having suffered a rib injury.

Stenson is ready and raring to go after a break and wants to compete for top honours again in 2017, starting in the United Arab Emirates.

"It's a great week, HSBC has made this tournament go from strength to strength over the years," said the 40-year-old, who prevailed in the Race to Dubai in November.

"I've played every year and I've had some good success as well. I've come fairly close to winning here a couple of times. It would be nice to happen at some point, it's the last one here in the desert that I haven't won so I'm going to try hard.

"I've had a nice rest, haven't played too much golf, pretty much nothing on the course.

"I've done some practice the last week, we'll see. I'm in for an easy start I think and then we'll just try to crank it up as the year goes on. It's another year with four majors and a lot of other nice tournaments we're going to try and be in contention for."

Reigning champion Fowler won by a shot last year, but failed to produce his best form in the majors, with a tie for 33rd at the PGA Championship his best effort.

He said: "I'm excited to start the year off here. I have some good memories here from last year, so it should be a good week.

"It was nice to get a win here to start of the year last year, but I didn't play as well as I would like to in the majors. If we can get some good showings in the majors this year and get myself in contention, possibly knock one off, that'll be nice."

Fowler also expressed his delight at the return of Tiger Woods, who shot a 65 on the Friday of the World Hero Challenge in December before finishing down in 15th at an event he hosts.

The 28-year-old hopes his fellow American will stay fit for the year ahead, as he feels it is positive for the sport to have Woods playing again.

"I just hope he's going to stay healthy and continue playing well," added Fowler. "He played well at his event down in the Bahamas, I enjoyed getting to play with him on Saturday there.

"So the biggest thing I'd like to see is him stay healthy and continue to get back and get comfortable again playing some golf. It'll be good to have him back."