Shane Lowry confirmed for Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

The 2019 champion will compete alongside Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, and 2020 winner Lee Westwood

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 19: Shane Lowry of Ireland celebrates with the winners trophy after the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 19, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Shane Lowry, the 2019 champion, has confirmed his participation for the 2021 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Lowry clinched the Falcon Trophy by one shot for his first win since the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2015. That victory in Abu Dhabi provided the foundations that would see the Irishman storm to his maiden major victory when won the British Open at Royal Portrush by six shots.

Lowry on Tuesday announced that he would start his new season in the capital as he aims to join Martin Kaymer, Paul Casey, and Tommy Fleetwood as a multiple winner at the National course.

"Winning in Abu Dhabi in 2019 started the best year of my career. Looking forward to starting my 2021 season @ADGolfChamps next month," Lowry, 33, posted on Twitter.

Lowry's announcement comes the day after reigning champion, and Race to Dubai winner, Lee Westwood confirmed he will return to the capital to defend his title.

Westwood won the 2020 tournament by two shots, which meant he had won European Tour titles in four different decades. Similar to Lowry, Westwood's Abu Dhabi victory propelled him towards even more success during the year as the Englishman won the European Tour's Order of Merit earlier this month.

"Excited to announce the first tournament of 2021 will be @ADGolfChamps," Westwood, 47, tweeted. "Start as we mean to go on!"

Westwood will face stiff competition for the Falcon Trophy at the January 21-24 tournament, none more so than from two of the world's top five players.

Justin Thomas, the world No 3 and reigning PGA Player of the Year, will be making his Middle East debut and the American is joined by world No 4, and four-time major champion, Rory McIlroy.

The Northern Irishman has come close in Abu Dhabi with four runner-up finishes and returns to the tournament after missing the past two editions.

Since 2019, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship has been given elevated importance as a Rolex Series events, providing increased prize money and Race to Dubai points to the players.

It will be the first event of the 2021 European Tour season.