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Dubai Desert Classic: Stephen Gallacher looking forward to Woods & McIlroy group

Last Updated: 29/01/14 3:15pm

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Stephen Gallacher (L) with Tiger Woods during the Champions Challenge in Dubai

Stephen Gallacher (L) with Tiger Woods during the Champions Challenge in Dubai

Sky Bet

Defending champion Stephen Gallacher admits he is relishing the prospect of playing with Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy for the opening two rounds of this week's Dubai Desert Classic.

His three-shot victory at 12 months ago has ensured that the 39-year-old Scot has landed a place in the tournament's marquee grouping this time around.

While that will inevitably bring added media scrutiny and attention, as well as bumper galleries, Gallacher insists he is looking forward to the experience.

"That's the way you want to be playing, you want to be playing with the top guys," he told the European Tour's website.

"They're there for a reason, so if there's anything that you can pick up on or just watch how they play their game, and see if your game is close to theirs, that can give you a bit of a boost as well.

Good time

"I'm really looking forward to it - I think it's going to be nice. It's going to be a good time, and hopefully it brings the best out of me."

Gallacher has already has the chance to accompany Woods around Emirates GC this week, partnering the world No 1 - as well as US veteran Fred Couples - in the Champions Challenge to mark 25 years of the Desert Classic.

The duo actually played against each other in the Walker Cup back in 1995 - in which Gallacher's GB & Ireland side won - and the Scot revealed that conversation on Tuesday had turned to that match.

"It came up because I think Fred is playing in the Senior Open at Porthcawl this year, and that's where me and Tiger played against each other in '95," he explained.

"We played in the foursomes against each other - I never played him in the singles. He was obviously quite a big - he was just about to turn pro at that stage and he was a double US Amateur Champion, which was obviously unheard of at that time, so he was quite a big prospect."

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