Northern Ireland's world number seven Rory McIlroy will be the star attraction when the European Challenge Tour stages its first official event in Cairo with the 2010 Egyptian Open at the JW Marriott, Mirage City Golf Club from October 20-23.
Tournament officials today confirmed the 21 year-old superstar – tipped by many as a future world number one – will join the cream of the European Challenge Tour at the penultimate event of the season. For McIlroy it will mean a short break from the European Tour just weeks after his expected debut in The Ryder Cup and a month prior to the end of the Race To Dubai.
"To have one of the world's best players agree to join us for the 2010 tournament is a wonderful bonus after achieving full European Challenge Tour status," said Egyptian Golf Federation Chairman Ayman Hussein.
"Having Rory McIlroy with us will help focus attention on Egypt, a country we firmly believe has a bright golfing future to match its reputation as the original home of the game in the Middle East. I am sure he will be guaranteed a warm welcome not only from Egyptian golf fans but also from the players of the European Challenge Tour.
Although this will be McIlroy's first playing appearance in Egypt, the man from Hollywood, Northern Ireland is no stranger to the region having picked up his first European Tour title at the Dubai Desert Classic in 2009 before finishing the year as runner-up at the inaugural Dubai World Championship.
"I'm very excited about the chance of playing in Egypt for the first time," said McIlroy. "It's not a country you would think about as a home for golf but I have heard about the courses there, the history of the Egyptian Open and the developments that are coming online. I can't wait to see it for myself."
McIlroy made a good start to 2010 finishing third at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, while in Dubai he ended up in a tie for fifth place just twelve months after clinching his maiden tour title in the emirate.
Despite a niggling back problem and some time off the course, he bounced back in sensational style recording his first PGA Tour win with a final round course record 62 at the Quail Hollow Championship – with it he became the first player since Tiger Woods to win a PGA Tour event prior to his 21st birthday.
In Cairo, McIlroy will join around 80 players from the European Challenge Tour as well as a selection of local and regional invites and qualifiers. In 2009, the event - while not part of the official European Challenge Tour calendar at the time – attracted an impressive field complemented by a guest appearance by European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie.
"Last year's event was very impressive for a first attempt and we expect the 2010 Egyptian Open to take the tournament to even greater heights both in terms of infrastructure and quality of play," said Nick Tarratt, Director The European Tour International, Dubai Office.
"Its position as an end-of-season event means it will command a strong field, while the appearance of one of the world's most exciting players in Rory McIlroy underlines the massive steps taken by the Egyptian Golf Federation in putting golf in Egypt on the world map."
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