By Staff writer
Four of the world’s top six golfers will be competing for the coveted Falcon Trophy and a share of the $2.7 million prize fund
A multi-national cast of golfing super-stars are lined up for this weekend’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, with four of the world’s top six golfers heading the bill at the European Tour and Desert Swing opener.
The final players list reveals one of the most highly competitive fields ever with American world number one Jordan Spieth heading the charge when they tee off at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on Thursday, January 21, all vying for the coveted Falcon Trophy and a share of the $2.7 million prize fund.
Alongside Spieth’s much-anticipated Middle East debut, the illustrious field also boasts world number three and four-time Major winner Ulsterman Rory McIlroy and world number five, American Rickie Fowler.
Super Swede and world number six Henrik Stenson and three-time Abu Dhabi winner German Martin Kaymer will also join the ranks, underlining the tournament’s reputation as one of the toughest and most competitive on the European Tour calendar.
In a year that will see the world’s best compete in Rio de Janeiro for golf’s eagerly-anticipated return to the Summer Olympic Games in August, and the 2016 Ryder Cup a month later, many will be hoping to make their mark at the season-opener in Abu Dhabi.
A number of emerging stars will be coming into the tournament with confidence having won a series of tournaments throughout 2015 and regularly featuring on the leaderboards.
Heading the list is European Tour 2015 ‘Rookie of the Year’ 24-year-old South Korean Byeong Hun An, still relishing his hole-in-one at last year’s tournament. Britain’s Danny Willett, Russell Knox, Andy Sullivan and Matthew Fitzpatrick, Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, Italy’s Renato Paratore and Matteo Manassero, and South Africa’s Brandon Stone who won his maiden European Tour title earlier this month, are just a few of the names to look out for as the world’s best arrive in Abu Dhabi.
Ryder Cup legends will again be well represented with Britain’s Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke and Ian Poulter putting their friendship and alliances to one side to secure one of the most coveted titles on the European Tour.
They will be joined by a host of European stars including Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn, Victor Dubuisson of France, England’s David Howell and Swede Peter Hanson.
Meanwhile, South African golfing legend and four-time Major winner Ernie Els is hoping to complete the ‘Desert Swing’ with a win in Abu Dhabi, having won the 2005 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and a hat-trick of Omega Dubai Desert Classic titles (1994, 2002, 2005). He’ll be joined by fellow countryman and 2008 Masters winner Trevor Immelman and World Number 15 Branden Grace.
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship runs from 21-24 January at Abu Dhabi Golf Club and is presented by ADSC. Tickets and tailored packages will be available from midday tomorrow 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.