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Dubai has bags of appeal with $2.5m prize on offer


Rory McIlroy. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Rory McIlroy. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Rory McIlroy. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

TO mark its 25th anniversary, the European Tour's Dubai Desert Classic is offering $2.5 million (€1.83m) for a hole-in-one at the 324 yard par-4 17th hole at the Emirate Golf Club.

This is in addition to the $2.5m prize money at stake this week. While it's the first time Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods appear in the same tournament this year, the Dubai event has some fascinating stat s to appeal to fans.

The tournament features 85 European Tour winners including the man who's won this event three times, Ernie Els. Can bookies' favourite McIlroy improve on his joint second place in Abu Dhabi? "I felt I should have won in Abu Dhabi," he says. "But all in all I'm in a good place."


At the 2010 Winter Olympics, Canada won 14 gold medals and the US claimed nine. Now the US Olympic Committee have announced the largest delegation of any nation at next month's Games in Sochi. The US team will have 230 members, 125 men and 105 women, spread across all disciplines. Team Ireland is five strong.


There could be extra competition for places on the Kildare panel with confirmation that Eanna and Cian O'Connor, sons of former Kerry manager Jack, have been cleared to play for Newbridge club Moorefield. Both are handy footballers and Eanna has played minor and U21 for the Kingdom.

Having successfully retained the O'Byrne Cup, Jason Ryan's team is now targeting the knock-out stages of the Allianz League. Visitors Mayo present the first obstacle on Sunday.


FI boss Bernie Ecclestone says it's "most unlikely" that Gene Hass of Stewart-Haas Racing, will succeed in his bid to create the first American-based team since Parnelli Jones Racing in 1974-76 to compete in Formula One. However Haas, of Haas Automation, believes he can build a team for 2015. He expects to hear by the end of March if he's got the go ahead to progress with his plans.


Sunday's NFL Super Bowl XLVIII is already providing diversionary entertainment in the States due to the fact that the competing teams Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos are both from States that have legalised marijuana.

Dubbed the Stoner Bowl, the event has inspired a range of pro-pot tee-shirts some with NFL replaced by THC (the principal psychoactive constituent of maurijauna).

Striking a serious note, the Washington DC organisation Marijuana Policy Project is running a controversial billboard campaign around the MetLife Stadium claiming use of the drug is safer than alcohol and American football. Many medical experts disagree.


Disappointed Manchester United supporters must be heartened to hear some fighting talk from boss David Moyes who's threatening to weed out under-performing players.

"A couple of new signings isn't all that's needed," he says, acknowledging the need to restructure.

"There's a bigger job to be done. I've given every player here the opportunity to play and show what they can do. I'm going to get better players in. There will be more."