DUBAI, Sept 23 — Ernie Els’ premier signature design golf course in the Middle East, The Els Club Dubai, will play host to the inaugural Dubai Open when the Asian Tour’s final event of 2014 makes its first trip to the city from December 18 to 21.
Promoted and organised by golf in DUBAi, the first professional tour event ever to be held at The Els Club is a fitting tribute to a man who has been an international ambassador and huge supporter of the Asian Tour since the day it was established by their players in 2004.
Situated within the sprawling Dubai Sports City, the 18-hole, par-72 course combines links style golf with traditional ‘classical era’ design, reflecting the creative genius of a man who also owns a record three Omega Dubai Desert Classic titles.
“It will be an honour for The Els Club and, indeed, for Dubai Sports City as a whole to host such a prestigious event and I would like to congratulate golf in DUBAi on this welcome addition to the city’s growing portfolio of world-class events,” said Khalid Al Zarooni, president of Dubai Sports City.
“There is a feeling of tremendous excitement at The Els Club as we welcome our first international tournament, the Dubai Open. We are looking forward to a long relationship with golf in DUBAi.
“We are extremely proud of our championship course, which has been in operation since January 2008 and is managed by Troon Golf, and to have this Asian Tour event really is something we are delighted about.
“I am confident that players and fans will be blown away with by the quality of the golf course and facilities at The Els Club. We can’t wait to showcase Els’ masterpiece to a global audience.”
Dr Ahmed Al Sharif, secretary-general of the Dubai Sports Council, also pledged his support to the new initiative by golf in DUBAi, saying: “International sporting events are key components of Dubai’s Tourism ‘2020 vision’ to increase our in-bound visitor numbers and showcase our quality infrastructure to the world.
“Every time a new major international event is held here, it not only raises Dubai’s profile, but also contributes significantly to the economic growth of our city. Golf is one of the fastest growing sports in the emirate and the addition of the Dubai Open is testament to the rising popularity of the city’s unique position as a diverse and much sought-after golfing destination.
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi, said: “It seems just so appropriate that we will be visiting a world-class facility that exudes a culture of excellence and a brand name that appeals to all in the golfing fraternity.
“The Els Club at the Dubai Sports City may be playing host to their first professional tour tournament, but it’s not uncommon to see some of the world’s best players practicing there ahead of events such as the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
“A first for Dubai and a first for The Els Club, the Dubai Open will be a tremendous boost for the Asian Tour and golf in our amazing city. These are exciting times for golf in Dubai and I look forward to welcoming the Asian Tour and fans to The Els Club.
“Of particular significance will be the presence in the field of 23 leading players from the MENA Golf Tour, who will be excited at the prospect of competing with some of the big names on the Asian Tour — a great opportunity for them to break into the big league by being able to gain World Ranking Points for the first time in their careers.
Ernie Els, International ambassador for the Asian Tour, is also impressed by the rising standard of the game in Asia.
“I’ve played in Asia for many years and can tell you from experience that a lot of talented players are coming through, which is just wonderful for golf,” said the four-time major winner.
“We all recognise that Asia is one of the game’s biggest growth areas and the addition of events like the Dubai Open will only help to accelerate that growth. The Dubai Open will also be fantastic for the MENA Golf Tour’s best young golfers as it gives them a platform to showcase their talents and get the world of golf to notice of their progress since 2011.
“Obviously it’s a thrill for us that The Els Club Dubai has been selected as the venue for this new tournament, the third course in the Ernie Els Design portfolio to host professional tour events. We really couldn’t be more proud of this golf course,” said the South African legend.
“Since it opened in 2008 it has become a favourite among local and international golfers. The presentation of the playing surface and overall conditioning of the course make The Els Club a go-to destination for top professional golfers and also tourists visiting Dubai.”
Stretching 7,538 yards from the tips, the 18-hole, Par-72 Els course has already set new benchmarks for Dubai, by securing local and international recognition. When it opened, The Els Club was named as ‘Best New International Course’ by prestigious US magazine, Links, and “Best New Facility of the Year” by Troon Golf.
With the Dubai Open, The Els Club is set raise the bar even higher.
Picture caption: Khalid Al Zarooni, president of Dubai Sports City, Dr Ahmed Al Sharif, secretary-general of the Dubai Sports Council, and Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi, at The Els Club Dubai on Tuesday