No plans for Race to Dubai move to UAE capital, says tour chief

Talks with Dubai partners remain 'positive' says chief executive of The European Tour
No plans for Race to Dubai move to UAE capital, says tour chief
George O’Grady, chief executive of the European Tour, said there were no plans to relocate the Race to Dubai tournament
By Claire Ferris-Lay
Mon 18 Apr 2011 01:20 PM

Dubai will continue to host the Race to Dubai despite reports the golf tournament could be moved to oil-rich Abu Dhabi, the chief executive of The European Tour said Monday.

The tournament will be staged at Dubai’s Jumeirah Golf Estates next year but is up for renewal in 2012, sparking speculation that the UAE capital may move to host the lucrative event.

“At the moment all our deliberations are positive and there is no reason why it should [move to Abu Dhabi],” George O’Grady told Arabian Business. “We’re certainly talking to everybody concerned at the moment, [and everyone is in] very positive moods. Our hope would be that our partners here in Dubai are very happy with the way it’s gone,” he added.

Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in December said it aimed to snatch the staging of the tournament away from Dubai and rename it the Road to Abu Dhabi from 2012.

General manager Ray Manulat said he was confident he could convince the tour’s authorities to move the event to Saadiyat Island, which features a Gary Player-designed championship course.

“I think the economic realities in Dubai might make it impossible to keep staging the Race at Jumeirah [Golf Estates],” said Manulat.

“If that's the case we would definitely be interested in taking over. Abu Dhabi is fast becoming one of the sporting capitals of the world: we have the Formula 1, Ferrari World and the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, so why not bring the Race to Dubai here too?

“There is no doubt about it, we have a strong commitment to tempt international golf events here and you can't get any bigger, on the European Tour, than the Race,” he added.

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