Hanson determined to keep knocking on door in Dubai

WOODSOME Hall's Chris Hanson is not on the European Tour just to make up the numbers, even though the numbers he is producing on the course are pretty impressive so far.
Sheffield's Danny Willett defends the Dubai Desert Classic.Sheffield's Danny Willett defends the Dubai Desert Classic.
Sheffield's Danny Willett defends the Dubai Desert Classic.

After retaining his card in his first full season on the circuit, the 31-year-old was among the top 30 money winners for the 2016-2017 wrap-around campaign ahead of today’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

But it is winning that occupies his mind as he tees it up each week, although the first step is always to avoid the halfway cut.

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This he has been doing comfortably, and last week he was one shot back off the lead at that stage, albeit in a tie for 10th as there were an unprecedented nine players sitting top of the scoreboard after 36 holes of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

“I’m just trying to learn each week, but every new event is just another golf course and I know if I take my A-game anywhere I feel I can win,” said the Yorkshireman.

“It is just a case of keep putting yourself in that position over two rounds, knocking on the door, and, hopefully, the good results will just keep coming.”

Also in the field are Masters champion Danny Willett, his fellow Sheffielder Matt Fitzpatrick and Malton’s Simon Dyson.

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In the first two rounds, the Sheffield duo will partner Tiger Woods, who will take inspiration from Roger Federer as he attempts to win for the first time since 2013 in any way possible.

Woods admits his latest swing has been designed to “play away from pain” as he makes his comeback from a back injury which required three operations in the space of 19 months.

The former world No 1 also concedes he can no longer keep up with the biggest hitters in the game, but believes he can find different ways to add to his haul of 79 PGA Tour titles and 14 major championships.

“Whether my swing looks classical, rhythmical or it may look unorthodox, I don’t care as long as I don’t feel that nerve pain,” Woods told a pre-tournament press conference.

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“Anyone who has ever had nerve pain in their back or anywhere in their spine, it’s like hitting your funny bone a thousand times a day; it’s just not fun. And I would much rather not have to go through that again.”

Two days after Woods missed the cut in the Farmers Insurance Open, his friend Federer returned from a six-month injury lay-off to win the Australian Open, his 18th grand slam title.

Woods has been frustrated by injury in his quest to match the 18 major titles of Jack Nicklaus – his last coming in the 2008 US Open – but can take heart from Federer’s performance in Melbourne.