Danny Willett is drawing on memories from his success at The Emirates 12 months ago as he prepares to defend his Omega Dubai Desert Classic title this week.
Willett held his nerve down the stretch in the final event of the Desert Swing last year to clinch a one-shot victory over Rafa Cabrera Bello and Andy Sullivan, who went on to become his Ryder Cup team-mates at Hazeltine.
Just two months later, Willett was celebrating a memorable maiden major title after sweeping to victory in The Masters at Augusta National, but his form has been patchy since and he has not managed to add to his tally of five European Tour titles.
Willett faces tough opposition this week as the likes of Open champion and 2007 Dubai Desert Classic winner Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia are also in the field along with two-time victor Tiger Woods.
But the Sheffield ace is confident he can atone for his missed cut in Abu Dhabi a fortnight ago and give himself a huge lift ahead of his Masters defence in April.
“Last year this tournament was the start of really what was an amazing season,” said Willett. “I played some pretty good golf in the run up, then it was one of them weeks where everything kind of clicked nicely.
“It was the first time I think within a tournament that I had been in and around the lead all week, instead of either coming from behind early on or having a biggish lead with nine to play.
“You look at Augusta, I could draw on Dubai quite a lot, how I played and how I played under pressure and how I composed myself mentally and having to hole a few key putts at the right time.”
Willett will play the first two rounds alongside Woods, who is a remarkable 92 under par for his seven previous appearances at The Emirates, while DP World Tour Championship winner Matt Fitzpatrick completes an intriguing three-ball.
“Every event that we play on the European Tour, they are all fantastic golf events. But when Rory is here or when Tiger is here, it makes it that little bit extra special,” Willett added.
“To see Tiger playing last week, I watched pretty much every shot of his two rounds last week and it was just great seeing him back in action. So I think he’s coming here, as he always is, to try and win.
“I think that’s great for the European Tour to have arguably the greatest player of all time come to Dubai and to try and take that championship trophy away on Sunday. There are a few of us that are going to try and stop him, but yeah, it’s great to have him back.”