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
Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has welcomed the competition of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and says the Swede will help the side win the Premier League.
Lukaku has made a seamless transition into life at Old Trafford having scored three in his first three Premier League games.
He’s continued that form during the international break with a hat-trick for Belgium in their 9-0 win over Gibraltar and the winner in a 2-1 victory over Greece.
Ibrahimovic signed a new one-year deal and is expected to return to first-team action in January and Lukaku is delighted to have him back in the fold.
“I said to Zlatan I hoped he would be back. We need his personality,” Lukaku said. “He will bring many qualities to the team, and help us in our goal of winning the title.
“I don’t fear the competition as a striker, or Zlatan. Things are going really well for me at United,” he added. “The pre-season was good and it helped knowing a lot of the players before arriving.
“The manager has helped me a lot to settle quickly, so it has all been very positive. I am now with a coach that I have wanted to play with for a long time, since I was 11 years of age. And with him we are looking to do something special.
“For me it is all about progressing and learning in my career, and all the coaches I have had have helped me with that.”
The Spanish transfer window remained open a little longer than the rest of Europe but with the majority of their deals done, our La Liga expert takes a look at three winners and three losers.
Look away now Barcelona fans…
It has been a highly eventful summer at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, where a bright and shiny brand new stand has been opened to symbolise a new dawn which features several exciting new arrivals.
New coach Quique Setien has rejuvenated his midfield with the captures of Victor Camarasa, Andres Guardado and Ryad Boudebouz, and the attack has been sharpened up with the signing of Sergio Leon – who has already scored for his new club – Cristian Tello and, on deadline day, Joel Campbell.
Those signings more than make up for the loss of star turn Dani Ceballos to Real Madrid, and Betis can look forward with optimism to a bright season – perhaps even challenging for a Europa League slot.
On paper, it appears that Villarreal have enjoyed an outstanding transfer window.
Goal machine Carlos Bacca has returned to La Liga from AC Milan, rising star Pablo Fornals has been snapped up in midfield and Portuguese under 21 international Ruben Semedo has been added to the backline – and all that whilst keeping intact the bulk of the squad which finished 5th last season.
Puzzlingly, however, Fran Escriba’s team have made a woeful start to the campaign, losing both their opening games without mustering even a single goal.
Early season blip or sign of things to come? It’s too early to tell, but from the Yellow Submarine’s work in the summer market they surely have every chance of coming good before long.
How can a club claim to have enjoyed a highly successful transfer window despite being in the middle of a transfer ban?
Well, Atletico Madrid have managed that feat by achieving something which looked unlikely for much of the summer: keeping all their current stars in situ.
Antoine Griezmann, Koke, Saul, Yannick Carrasco and Jan Oblak were all strongly rumoured to be leaving Los Rojiblancos at some stage in the last few months, but as September dawns they are all still with Diego Simeone’s club and ready to take another tilt at titles.
With Spain international winger Vitolo scheduled to arrive in January – and Diego Costa perhaps to join him in the next window – Atletico have somehow managed to make the very best of a bad situation.
Where do you want to start?
They tried to sign Marco Verratti from Paris St Germain, failed, and saw the French club turn around and steal away Neymar.
They tried to sign Coutinho from Liverpool, refused to take no for an answer despite having three bids turned down, and were eventually forced to admit defeat with no alternatives lined up.
They tried to sell Arda Turan and Denis Suarez, but couldn’t. They kept injury-prone Thomas Vermaelen, but allowed impressive rising star Marlon to join Nice on loan.
This window has been an utter shambles from start to finish for Barcelona, who will now be desperately hoping that their enormously expensive gamble on Ousmane Dembele – a 20 year-old who has scored 23 goals in his professional career – pays off. If it doesn’t, their season could be disastrous.
These are tough times on the south coast, where Malaga have lost their goalkeeper (Carlos Kameni), their best defender (Diego Llorente), their best two midfielders (Pablo Fornals and Ignacio Camacho) and their leading scorer (Sandro).
Even worse, the Andalusians haven’t replaced those departees with anything like the same kind of quality, and their desperation is illustrated by the fact their attack is now in the hands of Diego Rolan, a loanee from Bordeaux who has scored just 39 goals in the last five seasons.
Malaga were awful in their first two games of the season, losing both 1-0 against Eibar and Girona, and it doesn’t look like Michel’s men will get much better anytime soon. A relegation battle beckons.
Another team to be have been ripped apart are last season’s Copa del Rey finalists Alaves, who secured a comfortable mid-table finish in May but will be hard pushed to repeat that feat this time around.
The Basque club’s best two players last year were loanees Marcos Llorente and Theo Hernandez, both now at Real Madrid, and replacing such influential individuals on a meagre budget was always going to be a tough task.
A busy late flurry saw signs of hope with the loan arrivals of former Barcelona starlet Bojan Krkic from Stoke and Valencia midfielder Alvaro Medran, and those two new arrivals must make a major impact if Alaves are to avoid a long battle against the drop.