Mickelson’s return to the UAE capital ups the ante for the season-opening event in which three of the world’s top six players will be playing on Abu Dhabi Golf Club’s National Course.
The top-ranking trio, including former World Number One Rory McIlroy and reigning US Open winner Justin Rose, will challenge defending champion Jamie Donaldson, World Number 16 Luke Donald, and Abu Dhabi’s record-breaking Global Golf Ambassador Matteo Manassero for a share of the $2.7million prize purse, the richest of the European Tour’s ‘Desert Swing’ series.
The reigning Open and Scottish Open champion, Mickelson has won nine European Tour titles, including five Majors, in his impressive career to date.
“His presence is sure to cause a ripple amongst the currently confirmed European field set to chase the coveted Falcon trophy,” said Faisal Al Sheikh, Events Bureau Director, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), which owns and organises the Championship.
“To play Abu Dhabi in the early part of the year is a great opportunity,” said Mickelson. “I’ve wanted to return since my first time there in 2011. The golf course and facilities at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club are outstanding and the quality of the field and the good weather make it a great place to start my 2014 season.
“To win in Abu Dhabi would be wonderful although I know it will be tough. The course can be very challenging but I’m playing some of the best golf of my career and feeling confident about my performance.
“Abu Dhabi was a great way to kick off my season back then because it opened my eyes to new cultures and traditions – an experience that my whole family found rewarding. Next year’s tournament is strictly about the golf for me, although my family is looking forward to visiting that fascinating part of the world again, too.”
Mickelson’s return sets a high bar for the greatly anticipated opening event on The European Tour’s Desert Swing.
HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship & Events Giles Morgan said: “This event is gathering huge momentum and gets the golfing year off to a flying start. The quality of the field speaks volumes about the tournament and Phil is undoubtedly yet another headline attraction.”
The 2014 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship will take place on January 16-19 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Tickets are available via the event’s official website – www.abudhabigolfchampionship.com - and Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.ae) and are priced at AED50 for a daily pass and AED150 for a four-day pass.