Yas Links provides 'completely different test' for Abi Dhabi event

They only sit less than 10 miles apart, but a change of venue for the first time in its history has left the likes of Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa with a completely different test in this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The 18th hole at Yas Links Golf Course, which is staging this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the first time. Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images.

After being held for 16 years in a row at Abu Dhabi Golf Club with its iconic falcon-shaped clubhouse, the Rolex Series event has moved to Yas Links, next to the Formula 1 race track.

Like the previous venue, the par there is 72 and, at 7,425 yards, it’s just marginally shorter than Abu Dhabi Golf Club, which measures 7,642 yards.

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As the name suggests, though, the new venue has a links feel to it and, with wind in the weather forecast, it looks set to provide a fascinating test.

“It's a completely different test to what we've always had at the other golf course,” observed Tommy Fleetwood, a back-to-back winner at the old venue in 2017 and 2018.

“But, at the same time, driving and ball-striking were always paramount at Abu Dhabi Golf Club and they are here, as well. As different as the course might look and feel, there's still a lot of things that you have to do right.”

Fleetwood had only played the course once or twice in bounce games before this week, while it’s a whole new experience for world No 2 Collin Morikawa.

“Referring to his opening event of 2022 having been on the PGA Tour in Hawaii a fortnight ago, he said, smiling: ”Coming from Kapalua, where the fairways are about a hundred yards wide, this looks pretty narrow. It’s a very good golf course.”

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