Spieth and McIlroy to go head to head
Golfing superstars Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth will go head-to-head in a glittering threeball completed by Rickie Fowler during the first two rounds of this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Reigning European number one McIlroy, who is making his first start of the season this week as the annual Desert Swing begins in the UAE, will kick off the defence of his Race to Dubai crown at 7.40am on Thursday morning in the company of Americans Spieth - the world number one - and Fowler - the world number six.
McIlroy is yet to win the Falcon Trophy despite a stunning record at Abu Dhabi Golf Club with only one finish outside 11th place for the Northern Irishman in eight appearances and runner-up spots in four of the last five years.
Spieth, meanwhile, is making his first appearance at the tournament and his debut at a regular European Tour event.
Elsewhere, three-time winner Martin Kaymer, who blew a 10-shot lead going into the final round in 2015, plays alongside the man who overhauled him 12 months ago, the defending champion Gary Stal, and former European number one Henrik Stenson from 7.50am.
Three major champions are grouped together at 8.30am as 1999 Open winner Paul Lawrie is joined by 2003 Masters winner Mike Weir and 2008 Masters victor Trevor Immelman, while 2014 Abu Dhabi winner Pablo Larrazabal is off at 8am with Chris Wood and 2015 Rookie of the Year Byeong Hun An.
Meanwhile, three first-time winners from the embryonic 2016 Race to Dubai are grouped together at 12.55pm as Australian PGA champion Nathan Holman joins BMW SA Open winner Brandon Stone and last week's victor in the Joburg Open, Haydn Porteous.