World No.1 Brooks Koepka will be joined by European Tour stars Bernd Wiesberger and Matthew Fitzpatrick in the first Hero Challenge of the 2020 season, hosted at Yas Marina Circuit on January 14, ahead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA.
Four-time major champion Koepka will make his debut in the innovative shootout at the iconic Formula One racing circuit, where 5,000 spectators will watch six of golf’s biggest stars battle it out for the title in an exciting head-to-head format for the first time in Abu Dhabi.
The American Ryder Cup star is making his return to competitive golf at the opening Rolex Series event of the European Tour’s 2020 Race to Dubai in Abu Dhabi, having been side-lined by a knee injury last October and he believes the Hero Challenge is the perfect way to start his season.
‘’The Hero Challenge will be a great way to start my first tournament week of the season and I’m looking forward to getting involved in the fun,” said Koepka. “I’m a competitive guy when it comes to most things and I’m sure this will be no different once we get going, and it’s pretty cool to have the chance to play golf at such an iconic location like Yas Marina. It’s a spectacular place, especially when you see it on TV with the Formula One cars racing around, so I am sure it will be a fun night in Abu Dhabi.”
Wiesberger, the current World no.22, returns for his third Hero Challenge having teed it up in 2016 at The Grove and at the 2017 British Masters at Close House. The 34-year-old Austrian, who missed most of the 2018 season through injury, enjoyed an impressive 2019 campaign, winning three times, including Rolex Series titles at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and the Italian Open.
Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick will be looking to add another Hero Challenge title to his name following his victory over defending champion Matt Kuchar in a closely fought final at The Renaissance Club in Scotland last year. Three more European Tour stars will be confirmed this week.
The event, hosted by Vernon Kay and Iona Stephens under floodlights, will be broadcast live on TV around the world, with music and entertainment acts adding drama to the show. Doors will open to spectators from 5.30pm local time.
Hero MotoCorp recently extended the Hero Challenge on the European Tour until 2022, increasing the number of annual events from three to five, with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship the first in 2020. The event then moves to Europe for three more editions, including the Scandinavian Mixed Hosted in Stockholm, the Porsche European Open in Hamburg, and the Betfred British Masters at Close House. The series finale will take place ahead of the European Tour’s season-ending event in Dubai and will feature the winners of all four Hero Challenges from 2020 campaign.
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship ponce again takes its place as part of the Rolex Series – the premium category of tournaments on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, each with a minimum prize fund of $7 million.