Promising Woods-Garcia Pairing Ends in Mutual Meltdown

 Going into the final round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, anything seemed possible.

Golf fans pondered potential outcomes and social networks buzzed with hopeful speculation... on one pairing in particular.  

Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia have a shared history. Theirs is a rivalry that began at the PGA Championship in 1999 and, though it never quite played the way golf fans would have wished,  certainly made the sport more compelling during the first decade of this century. 

As we all know, the past couple of years haven't been kind to either of these men: injuries and personal issues have plagued both... to the extent that when their final round pairing was announced yesterday, many saw the possibility of a come-back battle between the beleaguered champions.  In my mind I naively took the narrative even further, imagining a brilliant duel in the desert sun, possibly ending in a playoff.  And no matter which of the two won,  a resurgence of the Woods-Garcia rivalry would ensue, and the 2011 season would be a series of thrilling, fourth round face-offs.

Ultimately, my little fantasy was just that: a fairytale that went awry when both players flamed out in the final round. contributor Paul Manhoney who followed the pairing at Emirates Golf Club, described a joyless round where certain elements of the old rivalry may have actually played a part in the day's disappointing results from Tiger and Sergio.

However, there definitely was a silver lining,  a rather big silver lining, and it came in the form of 6ft. 3in. Alvaro Quiros.  The quixotic Señor Quiros kept excitement at peak levels as he battled with Denmark's Anders Hansen, losing and regaining the lead more than once, while he wove together a nerve-racking round featuring an eagle, an ace and a triple bogey.  Fans on Twitter were clearly energized by the volatile contest.  A number of spectators on the scene were tweeting the action as it happened, which was great for those of us who couldn't watch it live.

In the end it was a great tournament and judging from the Twitter buzz, it generated a lot of interest in the UAE as a golf destination.  What ever one thinks of Tiger or Sergio I'm quite sure most golf fans would like to see them winning again.  In the meantime, the Dubai Desert Classic has a charismatic champion in Alvaro Quiros.