Fred Couples tees it up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic later this month, hoping to pick up from where he left off last season when he resumes his quest for more success in 2014.
Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2013, Couples rounded out the year on a high note with an emphatic six-shot victory in the Champions Tour’s season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
“Winning anything, even if it's a club championship, you're thrilled,'' said the 54-year-old American who will join a galaxy of superstars led by world number one Tiger Woods, European number one Henrik Stenson and world number six Rory McIlroy among other past winners in the landmark 25th anniversary of the event, promoted and organized by golf in DUBAi.
One of the hottest stars on the PGA Tour in the nineties, Couples delivered a shining example of his creative talent at the 1995 Omega Dubai Desert Classic when he secured his first win on the European Tour with a bogey-free final round of a 66.
For a man who missed the cut the previous year on his debut in Dubai and ended up doing television commentary, the victory held special significance, making him the first American to inscribe his name on the elegant coffee-pot shaped trophy.
“I have such great memories of Dubai and it will be fun to play in a field loaded with excellent worldwide players for the 25th anniversary of the event,” said Couples, who boasts nine victories on the Champions Tour after winning 15 times on the PGA Tour and playing on five Ryder Cup and four Presidents Cup teams.
“I think the Majlis golf course is a good challenge and there should be some exciting play from the great field. And for the guys at home, everyone wants to play in Dubai as it has become a very prestigious event on the European Tour.
“If you look at the tournament’s list of past champions, it includes many great names and that’s a tribute to the growing success of the event.
“I am grateful to golf in DUBAi for the invitation and look forward to the chance to compete in Dubai again later this month.”
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi commented: “We feel a deep sense of pride as we welcome back all our former champions for the 25th edition of the event. Fred is a great ambassador for the game and the one who enjoys tremendous fan-following all over the world.
“He has been around for a long time, but he continues to find a measure of success while dealing with a deep field. It will be a treat to watch his seemingly effortless swing that can produce long drives. I wish him the very best and hope he has a pleasant stay in Dubai.”
‘golf in DUBAi' is backed by Omega as the title sponsor and Dubal (Dubai Aluminium) as the sponsor. The co-sponsors are: CNN, Drydocks World & Maritime World, Emirates NBD, Gulf News, Mercedes-Benz and wasl while Dubai Duty Free, Carpetland and Motivate are the Patrons in golf in DUBAi's drive to showcase the emirate's vibrant golfing scene to a worldwide audience.