posted on 18/10/2012: 547 views
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, the world's top two golf players, have confirmed their participation in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on January 17-20.
The pair head a list of the biggest names in the game to compete for the US$2.7 million cash prize at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
Their participation in the high-profile event was disclosed yesterday at a press conference by Faisal Al Sheikh, Event Manager at Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ATCA), the championship organisers.
"Confirming Rory and Tiger, the world's top two players and a duo with well-documented respect and admiration for each other's talent, represents a significant coup and demonstrates how far the championship has come in its relatively short history.” Al Sheikh, who was joined at yesterday's media launch by Giles Morgan, the HSBC Global Head of Events and Simon Cooper, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer HSBC Middle East and North Africa, said.
"Rory and Tiger are true giants of the game and represent only our opening salvo as we are actively working to bring another world-class field to Abu Dhabi and further player announcements will be made in coming weeks.” Al Sheikh added.
A member of both the European PGA and PGA Tours, Northern Ireland's Mcllory shot to the summit of the sport's rankings earlier this year following a string of victories culminating in a staggering eight-shot victory in August's US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, the Ulsterman's second Major win. With four Tour wins in 2012, McIlory subsequently played a central role in Europe's historic Ryder Cup defence at Medinah Country Club in Chicago, Illinois.
"I have come close a few times in Abu Dhabi now. Hopefully it's my turn.” Mcllroy revealed via a telephone link at the event's official launch at the St Regis yesterday.
"This will be the first time I have headed to Abu Dhabi as world number one and I am determined to keep the wins coming and cement my ranking. The strength of field means there will be a tonne of world-ranking points on offer, so Abu Dhabi will be a really significant tournament that sets the tone for the year.
"I had a great tussle with Tiger nine months ago and I am sure he will be in contention again. We have spent a lot of time playing together this year, and it is always fun challenging the best. I have made no secret of the fact he is a hero of mine, and there is nothing better than tussling with your heroes.”
Meanwhile, Woods who was unable to stop this year's winner Robert Rock of England, confirmed his eagerness to come back to Abu Dhabi. "I have heard so much about Abu Dhabi in the past and I was very impressed by the crowds, the organisation and overall atmosphere,” he said. "I really enjoyed my time in Abu Dhabi and I wanted to return, particularly as I played well and came so close last year. I would love nothing more than to win in January and start the season in the best possible way.”
Due to the Woods-Mcllroy effect, the tournament is expected to shatter its own four-day attendance record of 8,000 spectators.
Giles Morgan, the HSBC Global Head of Events, one of the sponsors, said: "Next year marks our tenth anniversary as a major international sponsor of golf, and this is a great way to kick off a landmark year for us. In the last decade we are proud to have sponsored 30 tournaments around the world and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is right up there as a major global event and an important showcase for golf in the Middle East.”
One of the family-friendly tournament's key off-course attractions, the 12,000 square metres Championship Village, will once again bring a range of activities, attractions, prizes, games, competitions and live performances to complement the National Course.
Fans will be able to enjoy the popular HSBC Interactive Zone, which offers a variety of sporting activities reflecting the diversity of the bank's global sponsorships, and allows participants to test and hone their swing and putting techniques, while non-golfers can spend the time in the creative area.
Several innovative promotions introduced this year are also back as well as a family-friendly picnic day on Friday, January 18. The popular ‘Dress in Red Day' returns on Saturday January 19, with any visitor with red in their outfit, whether something simple like a red hat or event red accessories, entering free on the championship's penultimate day.
The Championship tickets are priced at Dh50 for a daily pass and Dh150 for a four-day pass. – Gulf News
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