Mark O’Meara Recollects His One-Stroke Win in Dubai in 2004

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In 2004, Mark O’Meara, a two-time main champion, closed with a three-under 69 to seize the Dubai Desert Traditional by one stroke over Paul McGinley. After McGinley missed an eagle try on No. 18 from over 70 ft, O’Meara two-putted from 12 ft for the victory.

It was his first win since capturing the 1998 British Open at Royal Birkdale in England.

It might even be his final.

With the Hero Dubai Desert Classic starting on Thursday on the Emirates Golf Membership and his 67th birthday across the nook, O’Meara lately mirrored on his memorable week on the membership twenty years in the past, and on a profession that resulted in 16 PGA Tour wins. In 2015, he was inducted into the World Golf Corridor of Fame.

The next dialog has been edited and condensed.

Are you able to consider it’s been 20 years?

I do bear in mind distinctly that week in 2004, going over there with Tiger [Woods]. I believe I began going to Dubai in 1998 or 1999. At 47 years of age, to win a event of that magnitude was a blessing.

What got here collectively for you that week?

At any time when I went abroad, I all the time needed to attempt to carry out at my finest. Sure, I used to be most likely getting compensated for being there, however I simply didn’t need to go over at any occasion and never placed on a superb present.

What attracted you to taking part in in Dubai, through the years?

Dubai, I all the time thought, was a really fascinating metropolis, tradition. After I gained on the Emirates course, there was the Onerous Rock Cafe in a constructing to the precise of the course, and there was hardly something there. And now once you have a look at the 18th gap and guys are hitting in there, it appears like New York Metropolis. The event of Dubai over the past 30 years has been an unimaginable factor to see.

And the golf course?

It sort of jogged my memory lots of taking part in within the desert. I by no means gained in Palm Springs, however I misplaced a playoff a few occasions. I lived within the desert. I preferred desert golf.

Are you glad together with your profession?

I’m. At 66, on the brink of flip 67, I’ve had a dream life. Do I believe I might have completed higher? Possibly. However I actually additionally consider I might have completed so much worse. For me, I really feel like the 2 majors at 41 have been the cherry on the highest of a banana cut up.

What was it like once you bought the decision you have been within the corridor of fame?

[The PGA Tour Commissioner] Tim Finchem known as me. I thanked him and known as my spouse and I mentioned, “Hey, I bought one thing to inform you, however I don’t need to inform you until I see you in particular person, and I’m coming dwelling proper now. I’ll be dwelling in 10 minutes.” I got here in and I advised her and I broke down. And I used to be emotional when the ceremony [at St. Andrews] went on.

Why did you win so many occasions at Pebble Seashore?

My first time, I believe I used to be perhaps 19 or 20, and I went as much as play within the state novice, I used to be blown away by the immense magnificence there. It was simply phenomenal. Then to win the novice the subsequent yr. Virtually profitable [the PGA Tour event at Pebble Beach] in ’84 after which profitable in ’85, I believe any time you come again to a spot the place you’ve had fond recollections, it helps offer you an additional little increase.

Would you could have maintained your enthusiasm and drive if you happen to hadn’t develop into near Tiger?

This final April, on the [Masters] dinner, I reached over and grabbed his arm, “I simply need you to know one thing. You modified my life.” And he didn’t know what to say. He checked out me, sort of grinned and smiled and mentioned, “We had lots of nice occasions collectively, didn’t we?” I mentioned, “You have got my quantity. Simply know my telephone is all the time on for you or your loved ones.” He made me a greater participant, and I felt like I had a big effect in his life.

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