The shores of Lake Michigan are calling. Or at least we hope they are. Qualification for the rescheduled Ryder Cup at Whistling Straights in September resumes with the start of the European Tour season in Abu Dhabi.
Watch 2021 European Tour Golf Live
In the UK, a Now TV Sky Sports Pass costs just £33.99 a month and is the best way to watch European Tour golf without committing to a long contract.
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Live Stream: How to watch from the UK
Live TV Coverage of all four rounds on Sky Sports (Timings BST subject to change)
Thursday 6am-8am, 11am-1pm Sky Sports
Friday 7am-1pm Sky Sports
Saturday 8am-1pm Sky Sports
Sunday 7am-1pm Sky Sports
Watch: Live Stream
In the UK, Sky Sports should be your first port of call as Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event will televise the action from the event.
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Live Stream: How to watch from the US
Live coverage is on the Golf Channel for all four days play. (Timings Eastern subject to change)
Thursday 6am-8am Golf Channel
Friday 2am-8am Golf Channel
Saturday 3am-8am Golf Channel
Sunday 2am-8am Golf Channel
Watch : Live Stream
If you do not have Sky, then a Now TV Sky Sports Pass is an excellent alternative. You can get a day or monthly pass to Sky Sports so not only would you get the golf but also football, cricket, Formula 1 and a whole host of other sporting events. It will also stream on pretty much every modern device too.
Rory McIlroy leads a host of European heavyweights in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship field, including Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Danny Willett, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Tyrell Hatton.
European captain Padraig Harrington also starts. It would be overstating the case to claim that the players share Harrington’s Ryder Cup focus at this juncture but come the end of the qualification period at the BMW Championship at Wentworth in September, those needing a pick will be thinking of little else. Providing, of course, the advancing vaccine army repels sufficiently the pandemic and its mutant variants.
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Live Stream: How to watch from Canada
Live TV Coverage is on Golf Channel Canada for all four days play. (Timings Eastern subject to change)
Thursday 6am-8am Golf Channel Canada
Friday 2am-8am Golf Channel Canada
Saturday 3am-8am Golf Channel Canada
Sunday 2am-8am Golf Channel Canada
Watch : Live Stream
While golf, like the rest of sport, continues to proceed without spectators, the Ryder Cup is predicated on fan attendance. And since the event was postponed in 2020 as a result of continued exclusion the question of its viability should the closed signs remain in place will have to be addressed. But not yet. Understandably, with that first-day-of-term optimism washing over the Abu Dhabi complex, that is a consideration few are given to ponder.
How to watch Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship 2021
Dates: 21-24 January
Tee times: See here on EuropeanTour.com
TV channel: Sky Sports Golf (Thursday from 6-8.30am and 11am-1pm, Friday from 7am-1pm, Saturday from 8am-1pm and Sunday from 7am-1pm)
Live stream: Online TV (day pass for £9.99)
Watch : Live Stream
Westwood flagged his Ryder Cup ambitions with victory here a year ago, a result that presaged a period of stellar consistency more readily associated with his peak. After his second place finish at the DP World Tour Championship down the road in December to become the Race to Dubai’s oldest winner, maybe we have to revisit the Westwood graph. He certainly doesn’t sound like a golfer entering the course-design phase of his career.
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Live Stream: How to watch from Australia
Live TV Coverage of all four rounds are on Fox Sports that can be viewed with a Kayo Sports subscription (Timings AEDT subject to change)
Thursday 2.30pm-7.30pm Kayo Sports (Fox Sports)
Friday 6pm-midnight Kayo Sports (Fox Sports)
Saturday 7pm-midnight Kayo Sports (Fox Sports)
Sunday 6pm-midnight Kayo Sports (Fox Sports)
Watch : Live Stream
The European Tour coverage in Australia obviously means getting something great to watch very early in the morning.
“I’ve always played pretty well in the in this part of the world. My two best results for the last year were Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the very beginning to the very end of the year. So I’ll be hoping for that again this year, sort of [start] fast here in these first three tournaments and then see where we are,” he said.
McIlroy returns to the Middle East for his first knock of the year seeking a fast start of his own. The most consistent golfer in the world at the start of last year was a peripheral presence post-lockdown, marginalised by the advance of that phenomenon he once led: golf’s new wave.
DeChambeau won the first two majors of the shrunken year in strikingly different ways, and Dustin Johnson’s domination of the final quarter culminated in a FedEx Cup win and a second major victory at the Masters.
The secrets to Lee Westwood’s career renaissance: his girlfriend on the bag and early mornings in the gym
Inspired by the lessons of Johnson’s powerful second coming, McIlroy pledged to address a weakness with the same clubs in the bag that once plagued Johnson, the short sticks. Johnson’s commitment to improved wedge play transformed outcomes.
McIlroy’s advantage with the driver has been eroded by the technical advances in equipment that now permits average beasts to thrash away with the big stick and still find a fairway. To reclaim hegemony McIlroy must emulate Johnson in turning greens into dartboards. And then hole some putts.
It is an irony of some scale that world No 3 Justin Thomas should make his first appearance since that homophobic, foot-in-mouth episode in Hawaii 10 days ago in a part of the world where homosexuality is a criminal offence.
His debut in Abu Dhabi does however offer Thomas a first shot at redemption should he have the courage to take it.
Let him condemn the medieval attitude of his Abu Dhabi hosts towards same sex relationships, and watch the hard shell of indignation that surrounds him begin to fall away.
Predictions and odds
Rory McIlroy (odds to win 11-2): A first outing of the year for Europe’s No 1. McIlroy has identified a need to improve his wedge play in order to challenge for majors again this season. This will be an indication of progress, measured against the mastery of playing partner Justin Thomas.
Justin Thomas (6-1): Big test for the American following the homophobic episode in Hawaii, not least how he handles the fallout in a country where homosexuality is a criminal offence. He can’t escape the spotlight in a group with McIlroy and Lee Westwood.
Aaron Rai (100-1): The Man Utd fan will be channeling his inner Bruno Fernandes to recapture the form of autumn, when he posted a hat-trick of podium finishes in four tournaments, topped by victory at the Scottish Open, to force himself into Ryder Cup reckoning.