Abu Dhabi To Host Return Of The Champions
Story published at 16:24, Tuesday, January 6th, 2015
Past winners of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship are set for a glorious return to Abu Dhabi Golf Club this January for the event’s 10-year anniversary showing.
Chris DiMarco (2006) Martin Kaymer (2008, 2010, 2011) Robert Rock (2012), Jamie Donaldson (2013) and Pablo Larrazábal (2014) will all shape up for another shot at the iconic Falcon Trophy and a share of the US $2.7 million prize purse, the richest in the region.
The champions’ return adds to the anticipation of this year’s showpiece, which will see celebrations reflect on the stunning growth of the decade-long tournament and golf in Abu Dhabi.
“We can reflect on the success of the event and the destination through the eyes of these champions,” said Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), which owns and organises the Championship. “Ten years ago, Abu Dhabi Golf Club was the destination’s only championship course – there are now three – and the number of overseas rounds being played here is increasing year-on-year. At the same time, the destination has moved on dramatically over the past decade and it will be great to show Chris DiMarco the changes that have ensued since he lifted the Falcon Trophy.”
DiMarco was the first Abu Dhabi champion claiming the Falcon Trophy after a thrilling final day’s play. He carded a final round 67 for a 20 under par total of 268 and a one shot victory over the gallant Henrik Stenson, who pushed the American all the way to the final green.
The win was made all the more remarkable for the US Ryder Cup player DiMarco whose wife Amy acted as his caddie for the week.
The following year it was the turn of Englishman Paul Casey, the only Champion not to return in 2015, who claimed his eighth European Tour title with a one shot victory over Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez and Swede Peter Hanson. He repeated the effort in 2009 when he survived a late scare to secure his second Abu Dhabi win by a single shot from Martin Kaymer and Louis Oosthuizen.
Kaymer was aiming for back-to-back victories that year after success in the emirate in 2008, but he did not have to wait long, taking out the next two events in 2010 and 2011 to establish Abu Dhabi as his ‘home away from home’.
The big hitting German then unexpectedly missed the cut in 2012, and it was England’s surprise package Robert Rock who held off 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods and US Open Champion Rory McIlroy to claim a sensational victory.
Welshman Jamie Donaldson, a European Ryder Cup hero recently, took the honours in 2013, with Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal seizing the Falcon Trophy from under the noses of Phil Mickelson and McIlroy last year in what was a nail-biting final day and one of the Championship’s closest-ever finishes.
“Winning in Abu Dhabi was one of the greatest achievements of my career,” said Larrazábal, who has three European Tour wins under his belt, including the Open de France ALSTOM (2008) and BMW International Open (2011).
“Abu Dhabi attracts the top players, year after year, and to secure a victory like that against the likes of Rory and Phil is something I will treasure forever.”
HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship & Events Giles Morgan said: “We are delighted to see so many previous champions return for the 10th anniversary of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. HSBC’s ambition is to open up the world of golf and we are delighted to work with our partners at the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority to bring world class golfers to serve up world class entertainment on a world class course. In the last ten years, the tournament has grown in stature and is now established as one of the highlights of the sporting calendar – an unmissable family event in the region with champions and emerging young stars playing side by side for what has become one of the most prized titles in world golf.
Tickets and tailored packages are available via the event’s official website – www.abudhabigolfchampionship.com at AED50 for a daily pass and AED150 for a four-day pass. Guests staying at any Abu Dhabi hotel over the Championship period enter free and all those who book packages will enjoy a complimentary clinic with a world top 30 player.
Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship www.abudhabigolfchampionship.com
HSBC Golf www.hsbcgolf.com
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