• European Tour

Rory reveals Tiger hunt

ESPN staff
February 8, 2012
Rory McIlroy no longer needs to go to great lengths to get close to Tiger Woods © Getty Images

Rory McIlroy has revealed his love affair with the Dubai Desert Classic dates back to 2006 when he took on the role of photographer to follow Tiger Woods.

McIlroy is now one of the biggest names in golf and is the hot favourite to get his first win of the 2012 season this week. But back in 2006 he was a teenager making his way in the game and he has revealed he took a novel approach to get up close to the then world No. 1.

"This is my seventh Dubai Desert Classic, which I've played every year since 2006," McIlroy said. "I remember what I shot (in 2006) - I shot two 72s and missed the cut by one.

"I remember I played on Thursday morning, and then on Thursday afternoon Tiger was playing. I came out in the afternoon and took one of the photographer's cameras off of him and was able to follow inside the ropes, which was pretty cool.

"That was my first real taste of Dubai, and I've been coming back every year since."

McIlroy came close to claiming victory at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, being forced to settle for second place behind Robert Rock. The Ulsterman did not feel he played that great in Abu Dhabi, but was happy to put himself in a challenging position and has worked hard on his game in the past fortnight.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I've obviously got good memories from here, winning in 2009 and being in contention the last couple of years, and feel like it's a golf course that I play well on, and hopefully I can play well on it again.

"I didn't feel like I played all that well in Abu Dhabi. I scored very well and was able to get myself into contention, which was great. I felt like I needed to work on a couple of things last week, which I did, and I feel like they're getting better.

"It's always nice to start off the season like that. I feel like I had a chance to win and did quite good, but hopefully it would be great to get a win under my belt pretty early this season, try and win here, a place that I've won at before, and of course, I really enjoy."

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