Willett inspired by Tiger presence in Dubai


Defending Dubai Desert Classic champion Danny Willett says this week's tournament at Emirates Golf Club will be "extra special" due to the involvement of Tiger Woods.

Willett, the winner of last year's Masters, will play with 14-time major champion Woods in the first two rounds in Dubai.

And the Englishman is delighted to be in the company of the 41-year-old, who is making his first regular European Tour outing in three years after missing the cut on his return to the PGA Tour last week following a lengthy injury lay-off.

"Every event that we play on The European Tour, they are all fantastic golf events. But when Rory [McIlroy] is here or when Tiger is here, it makes it that little bit extra special," said Willett.

"To see Tiger playing last week, I watched pretty much every shot of his two rounds and it was just great seeing him back in action. So I think he's coming here, as he always is, to try and win.

"I think that's great for The European Tour to have arguably the greatest player of all time come to Dubai and to try and take that championship trophy away on Sunday."

Willett cited Woods as a significant influence on his own career, highlighting the American's famous chip-in at Augusta's 16th hole during the 2005 Masters.

"My first memories of him are chipping in at 16 at Augusta," Willett added.

"I was kind of really getting into golf then and you see that, it was almost like the perfect advert for that tournament. I remember that shot ... him and Stevie [Steve Williams, Woods' caddie] going crazy and the cameras shaking and the ball just dropping in.

"It's those moments I think he created for guys that are my kind of age, that really spurred them on to train harder and to practise harder and to try and accomplish even a miniscule amount of what he has."