Henrik Stenson, the super Swede who has dominated this year’s European Tour and US PGA Tour, is aiming for more UAE magic after confirming he will contest next month’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Ice-cool Stenson comes into the Championship with the unique opportunity to win a ‘Gulf Slam’, after previous career wins in Dubai and Qatar, in addition to his Race to Dubai success.
Stenson finished his 2013 season in style in November, with a crushing six-shot victory to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. It was the last leg of what he termed the ‘double-double’, winning both tours as well as the season finales for each. He also posted top three finishes in The Open and in the PGA Championship.
Now golf’s hottest property is looking to wow UAE crowds with a maiden victory in the Championship, at Abu Dhabi Golf Club’s National Course from 16-19 January.
“2013 finished on a high in the UAE and it would be great if 2014 started on a high in the UAE,” said Stenson, who lived in the country until early 2012.
“The country was a fantastic home for us for eight years and I’ve always enjoyed playing here. Abu Dhabi is a growing, cosmopolitan city and the galleries at the Championship always give the players a wonderful welcome to the season.”
Stenson has been ever-present at the Championship since 2006. After twice finishing second, in 2006 and in 2008, and holding the Championship course record with a 62 during his 2006 near-miss, Stenson is ready to take the next step.
The Championship’s promise to ‘Expect the Unexpected’ will surely come to life if the UAE favourite lifts the Falcon Trophy on the Sunday afternoon, with the first ever ‘Gulf Slam’.
“There’s a Falcon-sized gap in my trophy cabinet that I’d dearly love to fill – not just because of the 2006 and 2008 near misses but so I can become the first player to complete the sweep of Gulf titles,” he said.
“The National course gets a bit tougher each year and the Championship has become one of the most coveted on the Tour, so it would be great to tee off the season in style here.”
Stenson joins an outstanding Abu Dhabi Championship line-up which includes: world number four and US Open title-holder Justin Rose, world number five and five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson, world number six Rory McIlroy, former world number one Luke Donald, Abu Dhabi’s record-breaking ambassador Matteo Manassero, crowd favourite and world number 10 Sergio Garcia and reigning Champion, Welshman Jamie Donaldson. Three-time Abu Dhabi champion Martin Kaymer also returns for his fourth shot at the title.
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship 2014 is presented by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and runs at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Tickets and packages are available via the event’s official website - www.abudhabigolfchampionship.com - and Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.ae), and AED50 for a daily pass and AED150 for a four-day pass. Guests staying at any Abu Dhabi hotel over the Championship period enter free.