While the Challenge Tour’s best will be battling it out for a coveted place in the season-ending Grand Final, the inaugural National Bank of Oman Golf Classic will also provide countless benefits to a region with a burgeoning golf market.
At a Press Conference held on Monday, Mohammed Mahfoudh Al Ardhi, Deputy Chairman of the National Bank of Oman, addressed media and guests ahead of the forthcoming $300,000 National Bank of Oman Golf Classic to be played at Almouj Golf, The Wave from October 24-27.
“We are proud and honoured to be the title sponsor of the first professional golf tournament to be held in Oman and to be breaking new ground in hosting the first European Challenge Tour event to be played in the GCC,” said Mahfoudh Al Ardhi.
“The National Bank of Oman Golf Classic will bring many benefits to the Sultanate, particularly among the youth and the business sectors. Golf has really taken off in Oman in a very short space of time and our youngsters have become enthusiastic golfers.
“Golf is a sport that teaches respect and fair play and the fact that more and more of our younger generation are enjoying the sport is a good sign for their future and the future prosperity of Oman.
“The tournament will help boost their interest and give our Omani National Team players, like Azaan Al Rumhy, the chance to compete against the European Challenge Tour professionals at a higher international level.
“We have three excellent golf clubs in Muscat and another under construction, with excellent facilities, and we are pleased to assist the growth of the game among our youngsters. They are the future of Oman.”
Mahfoudh Al Ardhi also outlined the advantages that the tournament would bring to the business sector, to tourism and, more specifically, golf tourism.
“This is a milestone event for Oman which will create many other opportunities,” he added. “The tournament not only puts the Sultanate on the World Golf Map but it also benefits the business and tourism sector in promoting Oman to the global corporate and investment community.”
Nick Tarratt, Director European Tour International Dubai Office, explained that for the first time Omani golf fans would be able to see the future stars of The European Tour in action at close quarters.
He said: “Many of last year’s Ryder Cup team made their names on the European Challenge Tour, players like Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Nicolas Colsaerts, plus Major winners such as Louis Oosthuizen, Trevor Immelman and Michael Campbell.
“The European Challenge Tour, along with Qualifying School, is the traditional route for up and coming youngsters to hone their game and, if they’re good enough, to play their way onto The European Tour. This will be one of the most crucial tournaments of the Challenge Tour season and it will be fascinating to witness the stars of the future in action.
“We thank the National Bank of Oman for their sponsorship of this prestigious ground-breaking tournament and for offering sponsor’s invitations to the top two players in both the PAN-Arab Championship and the GCC Championship and to other Arab Nationals in the region.”