YOU could have predicted it before the start of the tournament. A multiple major championship winner and a leading Irish player going head-to-head for one of the European Tour's most sought after titles. Except that here at the Dubai Desert Classic, there's to be no showdown between Tiger Woods and one of either Padraig Harrington or Darren Clarke.

Instead, Paul McGinley and Mark O'Meara are preparing to continue their personal duel over the final round at the Emirates Club. The first, firmly out of the elite loop following his seminal Ryder Cup-winning putt two years ago and without a victory since 2001; the second, in the twilight of a career that has seen him fail to win a tournament since 1998.

To conclude that McGinley and O'Meara have fed off each other over the opening three rounds is simplistic, but the chemistry between the Dubliner and the 47-yearold American has seen them open a three-shot lead over England's Brian Davis.

When McGinley said that anyone within eight shots could take the .270,000 first prize, you knew who he was talking about. However, given Woods' current indifferent form, a six-shot gap appears to be too much even for him.

McGinley also said if anyone didn't enjoy the pressure of being in contention in such a high quality tournament, they were in the "wrong business".

From a parochial point of view, let's hope he does the business later today.