DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Defending champion Henrik Stenson won’t be intimidated by Tiger Woods when the Dubai Desert Classic starts Thursday.
The 32-year-old Swede, who beat Woods by two strokes and Ernie Els by one last year, is unconcerned that Woods started the season with an eight-shot win at the Buick Invitational on Sunday.
Woods “is in such great shape and I think everyone feels that it’s going to take some really good golf to challenge him this week,” Stenson said. “But I always feel I have a chance. Otherwise, there is no point in going for the tournaments, really. The odds might not be the best, but there’s definitely a possibility.”
The 13th-ranked Stenson finished runner-up at last week’s Qatar Masters, three shots behind Adam Scott, and was tied for second at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship earlier this month.
“I am a little bit tired now after the two weeks,” Stenson said. “It always wears you down a little bit when you are out there and fighting hard to be in contention. This week, I just have to be a bit refreshed for Thursday.”
The Dubai-based Stenson believes his knowledge of the Emirates Golf Club course will be an advantage.
“I am very comfortable on this course, which is like my home course, and I am glad that I have the chance to win the Dubai Desert Classic two times in a row,” he said.