Former Liverpool midfielder Gary McAllister will play in the DSA Open at Emirates Golf Club on September 14.
The Swing Against Cancer Series has grown out of the Mike Clark Golf Day, a charity golf day that started in honour of Mike Clark, a much-loved figure on the local golf scene who sadly died of bowel cancer in 2012.
Organised by Worldwide Golf and Sixteen10, the DSA Open is the final chance for amateurs and pros to qualify for the Mike Clark Golf Day, which takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates October 26.
Professional golfers who win the Grand Final get Dh5,000 and a holiday, while amateur winners will receive a place in the DP World Tour Championship Pro-Am in November.
McAllister, who enjoyed a glittering career as a professional footballer, lost his first wife Denise to breast cancer 11 years ago and remains a keen supporter of cancer charity initiatives.
With just over a week until the event in Dubai, McAllister talked about how he got involved in the initiative, his experience of Dubai as a golfing destination and his thoughts on the Premier League season.
What was it that made you get involved in the initiative?
My wife suffered with breast cancer in the past so it’s very close to my heart. Any way we can help to raise awareness is something that we’ll support.
What’s your experience of Dubai as a golf destination?
It’s second to none, the quality of the golf courses and the investment. It’s fantastic. The condition of the courses, bearing in mind the weather – irrigation and how they manage it – it’s superb. I played them all – the Els Club, Dubai Creek. I know all the courses. The clubhouses are pretty spectacular as well.
The event is taking place on the famous Majlis course, where famous names like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Seve Ballesteros have played. What are your thoughts ahead of the event?
A lot of the holes are very familiar. When you’re standing on the tees, you’re looking at some of the lines the pros take, and you’re thinking ‘how on earth do they hit the ball there’. When you get to courses like that, you tend to relate back to some of the holes on TV, some of the great players hitting some great shots.
The Premier League season is just three weeks in, but what are your predictions for the season in terms of who the top four will be?
I see Liverpool competing right to the very top. Obviously with the outlay of cash that Man City have made, I think they will be strong. Manchester United have started well also. There is a powerful look about them. Jose Mourinho has brought in players with a lot more physical presence. There are also Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal to compete with them. It’s getting tougher and tougher. I would have City, United and Liverpool ahead of the other three. If I had to pick a fourth one, I see Antonio Conte grinding Chelsea in there.
Neymar recently signed for PSG for a world record fee of €200 million. Do you think transfer fees have gotten out of hand or is it relative to where the game is now?
It’s quite disturbing, those sort of numbers. It’s bizarre. If there’s a demand in the popularity of the game, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. If that’s the market and that’s the rate to get the best players in then it’s going to happen. It’s demand. As a professional your always trying to get the best you can get. I don’t know how long it can continue.
Golf and evening event: AED 795 (Emirates Golf Federation members AED 745); Emirates Golf Club members: AED 345 – prices include BBQ, free flow beverages, and prizes.
Evening only: Q&A with Gary McAllister bar games etc. AED 350 or AED 3,000 for a table of 10 – price includes BBQ and free flow beverages.
More info can be found at www.swingagainstcancer.com