Robert Rock.
Robert Rock. Getty Images Sport - Andrew Redington

Robert staying rock steady

ONE weekend you are beating Tiger Woods, the next you are sleeping on the M25. There are some things Robert Rock has not been able to account for as he returns to the Arabian Desert to resume his assault on the golfing elite.

The Englishman tees it up in today's first round of the Dubai Desert Classic, a fortnight after overhauling the 14-time major champion at the Abu Dhabi Championship. Life had seemingly altered irrevocably, but then, so, too, did his luck. Last Saturday, he was driving along the infamous motorway when the snow intervened.

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"I got stuck on the M25, so that brought me back down to earth pretty quick," said the 34-year-old, who was forced to bed down in his Jaguar. "In fact, sitting there in the car I realised that nothing much has changed for me. Whether I am the Abu Dhabi champion or not, the snow was certainly not making way for me."

If Mother Nature remains insurmountable then some of golf's biggest tests are now in his sights. Three of the world's top four are at the Emirates Course - only world No 1 Luke Donald is missing - meaning there are plenty of ranking points on offer. He is currently 58th in the world with his immediate aim to break inside the top 50 and so qualify for the Masters.

"I've got to do well in the next few weeks. I've the chance to play in a few big tournaments if I can keep up a decent run," said Rock. "I'm a great believer in momentum and there are tournaments I've not played before - the WGC Match Play, Doral and the Masters." Woods does not have the chance for revenge over Rock as he is playing for the AT&T Championship at Pebble Beach.

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