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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Welcome Back to Abu Dhabi!

Yes, it's time to return to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in the United Arab Emirates. And this time it looks like they've got the strongest field ever. As you can see from the photo below, Rory, Jordan, Rickie and Henrik give them four of the Top6 in the world rankings.

And in case you didn't hear, this photo is from the 'Rider Cup' race they had on Golfboards. But I haven't seen anything telling which side -- US or Europe -- won the race.

The Rider Cup racers

Defending champion Gary Stal, who came from ten shots back to beat Martin Kaymer last year, has become something of an afterthought because of the top players I mentioned. In fact, Rory, Jordan and Rickie will play together in tonight's coverage. Their tee-off time is 7:40am local Abu Dhabi time, which I think is 10:40pm ET here in the Southeastern USA, and Stenson tees off about 10 minutes later. That should send them all off just minutes after GC's live coverage starts.

As best as I can tell, the only other player in the world Top10 who's playing this week is Patrick Reed, and he's playing the PGA Tour. So although the CareerBuilder Challenge -- formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic -- in California is the PGA Tour event this week, it's pretty clear that the BIG event this week is in Abu Dhabi. Personally, I think it's nice to see some of the European Tour events starting to get some respect from the PGA Tour pros. We keep saying the game is international; it's only fair that the wealth get spread around between the various tours.

At any rate, Golf Central comes on at 10pm ET with the Abu Dhabi event beginning live coverage at 10:30pm ET tonight. It will be replayed Thursday morning but if you want to watch the top players live -- some for their first time in 2016 -- here's your chance.

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