Middle East Swing: A look at the European Tour's three-week visit to the desert

Last Updated: 13/01/14 1:23pm

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After the early-season events in South Africa, the European Tour now heads to the desert for the Middle East Swing.

Last year this part of the schedule proved memorable for the British players.

Welshman Jamie Donaldson scored a superb win in Abu Dhabi, Chris Wood landed his first Tour title via a sensational closing eagle in Qatar and Stephen Gallacher banked the biggest win of his career by taking victory in the Dubai Desert Classic.

This year's Middle East Swing gets under way on Thursday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship where we'll have the chance to get a first glimpse in 2014 of Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson.

All three will be hoping to land majors this year but can they get their campaigns off to a winning start?

Sky Sports coverage begins on SS4 HD this Thursday at 6am.

The following week Wood defends his title at the Commerical Qatar Masters.

The tournament runs from Wednesday to Saturday to tie in with the weekend in Qatar which is Friday/Saturday so Sky Sports will be live from Doha Country Club at 6am on Wednesday 22nd January.

Tiger Woods is the star attraction at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic - a tournament which he's won twice before.

Woods joy in 2008

The world number one first took the title in 2005 while he produced an amazing finish to snatch the trophy again in 2008, holing a 25 foot putt for birdie at 18 to win by a shot.

It's the 25th anniversary of the Dubai event this year and, along with Woods, the storied list of previous winners includes Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Fred Couples, Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal.

This event was also the scene of McIlroy's first ever European Tour win in 2009.

Set those alarm clocks early as Sky Sports' live coverage begins on Thursday, January 30 (SS4 HD) at 3.30am.

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