Golfing legend Gary Player is on the way back to Abu Dhabi – and he is bringing an all-star cast of sporting stars with him for his latest charity tournament.
The South African superstar – who won nine Grand Slam titles during his illustrious career – has put together a fantastic field of champions for the Gary Player Invitational at Saadiyat Golf Beach Club, a course he designed himself, on January 29.
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn will head the line-up for the one-day Pro-Am event, which will also feature rising stars Rafa Cabrera Bello and Matt Fitzpatrick as well as British Masters winner Paul Dunne, former South African Open champion Brandon Stone and the UAE’s own up-and-coming amateur talent, Rayhan Thomas.
Ladies European Tour stars such as Olivia Cowan, Carly Booth and Henni Goya will also be part of a field also featuring business leaders and celebrities such as singers Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy.
The eagerly-awaited event raises funds for the Player Foundation, which has this year chosen the Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs as its charity of choice.
Held in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is the only Middle Eastern stop in the Gary Player global series and the first of 2018.
The great news for golf lovers is they can see every drive, chip and putt without spending a wedge as entry to the event is free.
The series has helped The Player Foundation raise more than $64 million for charities worldwide, and the Gary Player Invitational plays a key role in helping The Player Foundation work towards its goal of raising $100 million by 2025.
Gary Player said: “We are thrilled to be coming back to Abu Dhabi and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club to kick off 2018 with what will be a field of some of the super new golfing talent in the world.
“As illustrated by our field of champions, including the UAE’s very own Rayhan Thomas, the game continues to evolve and strengthen in the UAE which is truly fantastic to see. This, combined with raising money for those in need will make for a fantastic event for all.
“Now in its third consecutive year and held at one of world’s most appealing courses, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, the event in Abu Dhabi has firmly cemented its position on our global tour of golf and giving.
“Thanks to the generosity of the Abu Dhabi community and the support of organizations like the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the Gary Player Invitational in Abu Dhabi brings us closer to achieving our goal of raising $100 million for children by 2025. While the event itself is both engaging and entertaining, it is made all the more worthwhile knowing that funds raised will stay in Abu Dhabi and support the Zayed Higher Organization in all the great work that they do for the community.”
His Excellency Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, added: “Year-on-year Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a world-class sporting destination continues to grow, thanks in large part to events such as the Gary Player Invitational. Bringing together the world’s top sporting talent, celebrities and local businesspeople, and highlighting the very best of sportsmanship and philanthropy, the Gary Player Invitational is ideally placed as one of Abu Dhabi’s first sporting events of the year, especially following last year’s Year of Giving.
Along with the action on the green, the event will include a gala dinner on the five-star Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi. Members of the public are welcome to visit Saadiyat Beach Golf Club on tournament day to see Gary Player, the professionals and stars in action.
Free entry. Mon, Jan 29. Saadiyat Golf Beach Club, Saadiyat Island, www.garyplayerinvitational.com.