The United Arab Emirates will become the 45th country to stage a European Challenge Tour event when the Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club is staged from 31 October to 3 November 2013.
The €330,000 tournament marks the start of a three-year relationship between the Challenge Tour and Al Badia Golf Club and will feature the top 45 players on the Challenge Tour Rankings.
In addition to a first prize of €56,650 and increased Official World Golf Ranking Points as per a standard Challenge Tour event, the top 15 players in the rankings after the Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club will win a European Tour playing card for 2014.
It will be the first time the Challenge Tour has visited the UAE and will come just four days after the penultimate event on the calendar, the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic, is staged in Oman. It also means both The European Tour and the Challenge Tour will end their 2013 seasons in Dubai.
Alain de Soultrait, Director of the Challenge Tour, said: “One of the objectives of the Challenge Tour is to stage events in different locations around the world so we are delighted that the UAE – renowned worldwide for its golfing infrastructure – has become the 45th country in the history of the Challenge Tour. It is a fitting way for us to celebrate the conclusion of the 25th anniversary of the Challenge Tour.
“With a significant prize fund, a magnificent golf course and a global TV reach of over 367 million households, we believe this will be a Grand Final that showcases the best of both the Challenge Tour and Dubai so we thank our sponsor Al Futtaim Automotive Group, DubaiFestivalCity and Al Badia Golf Club for their outstanding support.”
Celebrating its 25th year of operation, the Challenge Tour has consistently acted as a springboard to The European Tour and has helped launch the careers of golfing superstars such as current US Open Champion Justin Rose, Major Champions Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer and current Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson.
Al Futtaim Group Real Estate, Director of Hospitality Moutaz Duwaji: “There is no doubt that the Challenge Tour plays an important role in the development of golf stars of the future so we are proud to be able to stage the final event of the season – the Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club – for the next three years.
“We believe that with a high quality field, global TV exposure and free entrance for spectators, the tournament will become one of the most prominent sporting occasions on the UAE calendar and a true showcase for DubaiFestivalCity.”
The Challenge Tour has enjoyed a successful first 25 years and in 2013 will stage 26 events in 17 countries before reaching the Grand Final in Dubai.
And while it has produced many notable names over the years, it also has strength in depth with some 21 players from the Challenge Tour going on to play in The Ryder Cup, while 65% of players who play on The European Tour have also played on the Challenge Tour.
As well as a 72-hole, four-day tournament with no cut, the Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club also offers a host of sponsor benefits including a Pro-Am on October 30 featuring all 45 qualifiers.
“With the golf course measuring 7,330 yards, we believe Al Badia Golf Club will offer a tough test for the players and will certainly be fitting of its status as the venue for the Grand Final,” said Golf Club Manager James Shippey.
“Our members and regular golfers will notice a few changes with a new tee on hole 18 and some strategic bunker and tree placements for the tournament. Over the coming eight weeks, we will work round the clock to have everything in place for the first tee time on October 31 and look forward to welcoming golf fans to the course to see the stars of tomorrow in action at one of the best venues in the Middle East.”
The Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, the Emirates Golf Federation and the Arab Golf Federation.
Al Badia Golf Club www.albadiagolfclub.ae
European Tour www.europeantour.com