With 175 days to go until the Dubai World Championship, Leisurecorp, a division of Nakheel Leisure, has announced a global partnership with Rolex, naming the world’s leading watch company and the Official Timekeeper of The European Tour as the first official sponsor of the much anticipated season-ending event of the inaugural Race to Dubai.
The partnership also includes the significant sponsorship of this week’s European Open and the 2009 South African Open, which will take place at Pearl Valley Golf Estates, a Leisurecorp-owned golf resort.
The agreement is part of a long-term strategic partnership across Leisurecorp’s trilogy of tournaments and extends throughout its global portfolio of golf assets which includes Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, Pearl Valley Golf Estates in South Africa, and Turnberry in Scotland – host venue for The Open Championship in 2009.
A key sponsor of the four main bodies governing golf worldwide, Rolex adds three more tournaments to its prestigious calendar of golf events through its partnership with Leisurecorp, thus reinforcing its enduring commitment to and support for world golf.
Jean-Noël Bioul, co-director, sponsoring at Rolex, said, “As one of the Tour’s longest standing sponsors and sponsor to more than 20 tournaments in The Race to Dubai, the decision to back such an exciting group of tournaments was a natural progression for our long-term support of golf and one that we are very excited about.
“The advent of The Race to Dubai and the drama that surrounds it has made this European Tour season arguably one of the most important in its long and distinguished history. Due to the quality of the competitors and the prize fund on offer, the grand finale in Dubai will be one of the most important sporting events to ever be hosted in the region and we are extremely pleased to be a part of it.”
The Race to Dubai season-long competition includes 49 golf tournaments at 26 destinations around the world. The contest will climax in November, when the number 1 to 60 players qualify for the Dubai World Championship, thereby ensuring that only the world’s best players will have the chance to compete for what has become golf’s ultimate prize.
Hamza Mustafa, managing director of Nakheel Leisure, said, “We are delighted to announce Rolex as a global partner to our international golf programme and as the very first official sponsor of the Dubai World Championship. To have the support and backing of such a respected and world-class brand provides a strong foundation for success, as we progress towards delivering the most anticipated and exciting tournament in world golf.
“The Dubai World Championship will provide a thrilling crescendo to The Race to Dubai and in challenging economic times it just goes to show that the most desirable sponsorship properties will continue to attract considerable interest from the corporate community. This is the first of several major partnerships to be announced in the coming months.”
The Dubai World Championship will be held on the Greg Norman-designed Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, from 19 to 22 November. The event recently received patronage from His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the Executive Council.
The 32nd edition of The European Open will be the first of the three events, taking place at The London Golf Club in Kent from 28 to 31 May. This year, golf fans will be able to see a world-class field free of charge on any day of The European Open, following the huge success of The European Open’s ‘free ticket Thursday’ last year, which attracted nearly 24,000 spectators.
The 2009 South African Open Championship will take place at Pearl Valley Golf Estates in South Africa, from 17 to 20 December. Set against the backdrop of the Drakenstein Mountains in the heart of the Cape Winelands, Pearl Valley is one of the most spectacular courses on the European Tour and the Championship promises to be an important event in the early stages of the 2009/2010 season.
European Open Championship, www.europeantour.com
Dubai World Championship, www.dubaiworldchampionship.com