An opening-round 66 in Abu Dhabi was a positive sign, but he followed with a second-round 75 and eventually finished tied for 34th. Two weeks later he teed it up in the Euro Tour’s Saudi International, tying for 17th and continuing to show signs of progress. Still, there was a bit of mystery on just how good his left knee felt.

Players representing 18 nations teed it up in the inaugural Abu Dhabi Amateur Championship last December, wooed by the promise of valuable World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) points. The lure will be even greater when Saadiyat Beach Golf Club hosts the second edition of the 54-hole strokeplay event from Dec. 15-18.