Solid Rock prevents Woods from flourishing in the desert

Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:14am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Tony Jimenez

LONDON (Reuters) - A golfing fairytale came true when little-known Briton Robert Rock outplayed 14-times major winner Tiger Woods in a final round shootout to land the Abu Dhabi Championship title.

Ten years ago, Rock was selling confectionery and tee pegs behind the counter of a club shop near Birmingham but in the Middle East on Sunday, he held his nerve over the closing holes to eclipse the finest players in the modern-day game.

"It's pretty hard to believe I managed to win," the 34-year-old Englishman told reporters after completing a one-stroke victory. "It hasn't sunk in what I achieved.

"I need a few days to contemplate winning this. It was such a good field," he added, referring to Woods and the top four players in the world rankings - Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer.

Rock, with a name that would not look out of place on a leading film actor and the Hollywood good looks to match, remembered having no grand plans when he played his first full season among the elite in 2003.

"I had been playing local PGA events like club pros do," he explained. "It was a slim chance to play my way on to some European Tour events through that route.

"That was my goal. At that point, I was just hoping to play a few European Tour events in my career," he added.

"Working at golf clubs is not the easiest way to reach the top. You would think you would be playing a lot of golf but actually you don't."   Continued...

<p>Robert Rock of England poses with the trophy after winning the Abu Dhabi Championship at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club January 29, 2012. REUTERS/Joseph J. Capellan</p>