Abu Dhabi will start golf’s Middle East swing


Dubai : The Asian swing of the European Tour will kick start with the $2 million Abu Dhabi Golf Championship next week.

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The tournament to be held Jan 17-20 is the first of the three big events in the Middle East swing, after which the tour comes to India for the EMAAR-MGF Indian Masters.

In terms of the course changes, the club has redesigned its severe dog-leg-left 16th hole to make it more challenging for the world’s top players that will include defending champion Paul Casey, fellow English duo, Luke Donald and Ian Poulter, Australia’s Adam Scott and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington.

The Indian challenge will include Jeev Milkha Singh, Jyoti Randhawa and Shiv Kapur.

The changes also include the rough to make them more severe. The par-72 national championship course being has been extended to 7,500 yards – the longest it has been in the event’s three-year history.

The promoters feel the upgraded course and facilities will enhance the tournament’s prestige.

“We are continuously looking at ways to enhance the overall experience of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, and make the course more demanding for the players.

“We have seen some fantastic golf played on this course, and the amendments that have been made for 2008 will foster the tight, enigmatic golf we have come to expect from this tournament,” said Ahmad Hussain, Deputy Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, which organises the championship.