World number 48 Thomas Björn has become the latest big name to accept an invitation to the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship later this month. The former Ryder Cup player will join the likes of Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen and Padraig Harrington at the ?1.6 million European Tour event, which is fast becoming one of the more eagerly anticipated early tournaments of 2007.

Björn, who found himself in the spotlight for the wrong reasons in 2006 after publicly criticising European Ryder Cup skipper Ian Woosnam for overlooking him, will have a shorter journey than most to the tournament due to his status as a UAE resident. He will be hoping that local knowledge of the Abu Dhabi Golf Club proves useful to him as he looks to improve on his 24th place at last year’s event.

“As a UAE resident I will do whatever I can to raise the profile of the game in my adopted home so I’m hoping I can improve on my finish last year,” he said.

“It’s a highly competitive field brimming with the world’s top players, but I have a significant advantage over the others in that I have invaluable local knowledge of the course. That might just swing it for me on the day – you never know.”

The tournament runs from January 18-21.