Ahmed Al Musharrekh, the first Emirati golfer to turn professional, says he hopes to inspire thousands of youngsters from across the Emirates by becoming the first UAE national to make the cut at this month’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
The 25-year-old will tee off on Jan. 21 against the world’s best players, including world No. 1 Jordan Spieth, four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy, three-time Abu Dhabi champion Martin Kaymer, US superstar Rickie Fowler and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson.
Joining the golfing world’s elite of young talent in Abu Dhabi, Al Musharrekh is ultra- keen to make an impact on the next generation of aspiring local talent.
“Each year I’m gaining more and more experience with my own game and playing against the world’s best golfers,” said Al Musharrekh. “I know that if I can make the cut for the first time, I can inspire junior players and then maybe we will see another young Emirati challenging for the Falcon Trophy in years to come.”
The confirmation in the event comes just weeks after HSBC and Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) launched the new ‘Champions of Tomorrow’ junior golf program in the UAE capital. Phase two of the unique initiative will see more than 2,000 children attend and watch the Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club (ADGC), where they will hopefully catch a glimpse of their local hero, as he takes on the biggest global golfing stars.
This year will mark Al Musharrekh’s fifth attempt at cracking ADGC‘s National Course, having made his debut as a fresh-faced 19-year-old in the 2010 Championship. The young Emirati carded his best results to date on the 2014 MENA Golf Tour, before missing the cut in Abu Dhabi last year.
“I’m super excited about the future, not just for my own career, but for golf in the UAE too,” Al Musharrekh said. “The sport is growing in popularity here and as the first professional Emirati golfer I feel it’s my duty to support that. I’m looking forward to meeting some of the upcoming local talent at the Championship this year.”
Al Musharrekh turned professional in September 2012 as one of the most promising players on the regional circuit after an impressive amateur career which saw him win the 2012 GCC Championships, as well as individual and team gold medals in the 2011 Arab Games.
Aref Al Awani, ADSC’s general secretary, said: “It’s great to have Ahmed back in the Championship. He is undoubtedly a role model for other young Emiratis hoping to pursue their own sporting dreams. His accomplishments, alongside his commitment to growing the game among the local community, are nothing short of inspiring and I’m sure he’ll spur the ambitions of our Champions of Tomorrow.
“I hope the entire Emirati community, particularly those in Abu Dhabi, get fully behind him.”
Giles Morgan, global head of Sponsorship & Events for HSBC, said: “We are all inspired by our heroes in sport and Ahmed is a superb role model for young Emirati golfers. There is huge potential here and the Champions of Tomorrow program is designed to unlock that potential – with Ahmed leading the charge, the outlook for Emirati golf is positive.
“Golf is changing and changing fast and a new generation of superstars like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler are now inspiring the next generation to follow in their footsteps. As golf prepares to return to the Olympics at Rio 2016, it truly is a global game. The traditional golfing powerhouses of the US, Europe, Australia and South Africa remain strong but emerging stars like Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, China’s Haotong Li and India’s Anirban Lahiri have really made their mark in the last 12 months. In 2016 golf really is anyone’s game.”
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is owned and presented by ADSC and runs Jan. 21 to 24. 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.
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