Sullivan, Wood and Smith among star-studded line-up for inaugural NBO Oman Open

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The European Tour will welcome another new event to its international schedule next month when the NBO Oman Open makes its debut at the Greg Norman-designed Al Mouj Golf in Muscat from February 15-18.

A star-studded line-up including Ryder Cup stars Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood along with former Open Champion Paul Lawrie and Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnson will tee it up in Oman next month.

The NBO Oman Open will represent the biggest professional sports event to be hosted in Oman – after five successive European Challenge Tour competitions.

The Sultanate became the key focus of the Challenge Tour schedule with the competition renamed the ‘Road to Oman Rankings’ and the top 45 players earning a spot in the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final where they competed for a chance to win promotion to the European Tour.

Also teeing it up in Muscat will be Jordan Smith. The Englishman topped the Road to Oman Rankings in 2016 before making a lightning start to his European Tour career last year with victory in the Porsche European Open along with a further four top ten finishes.

“I’m excited to be returning to Oman and playing in the NBO Oman Open at Al Mouj Golf next month,” said Smith.

“I have fond memories of Oman and winning the Road to Oman in 2016 and look forward to playing again in Muscat at Al Mouj Golf. It is a challenging golf course and I’m delighted to include Oman and the NBO Oman Open in my 2018 schedule.”

Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia will join Smith in the NBO Oman Open field.

The list of former winners will also include Clement Sordet while Jeunghun Wang and rising star Seungsu Han of Korea add further quality to the high-class international field.

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Alessandro Del Piero joins Luis Figo in Abu Dhabi Invitational line-up

Nick Watkins 10/01/2018
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Green machine: Alessandro Del Piero

Some of the world’s top golfers and a host of famous faces are coming to Abu Dhabi for two days of entertaining golf.

The Abu Dhabi Invitational at Yas Links features teams of professional golfers along with celebrity players. Day one sees VIP guests compete in the Amateur Championship, while day two pits the pros against the celebs in a Ryder Cup style event.

This year’s teams will be captained by former world footballer of the year Luis Figo and former world number one golfer Martin Kaymer.

Ex-Real Madrid and Barcelona star Figo, will be joined by Manchester United heroes Peter Schmeichel and Dwight Yorke – part of United’s legendary ‘99 treble winning side. Along with Olympic gold medallists, rower Matthew Pinsent and swimmer Roland Schoeman.

Also joining Figo’s star-studded team will be former footballers, Juventus hero Alessandro Del Piero and Dutch legend Ruud Gullit. The former AC Milan and Chelsea star will be looking to go one better than last year, having suffered defeat in the 2017 tournament.

Howie Roberts, General Manager of Yas Links, is also eagerly anticipating the array of sporting superstars who’ll play in the event this year. “We are honoured to have Alessandro Del Piero and Ruud Gullit here as we host the Abu Dhabi Invitational for a sixth time,” he said. “It is a chance to showcase this fantastic golf course, alongside Yas Island’s global entertainment and hospitality facilities, to an international and influential audience.

Figo said: “I am delighted to be captaining the Celebrity Team in The Abu Dhabi Invitational. I have heard great things about Yas Links and the Tournament. We look forward to the challenge of facing Martin’s Pro team and will leave no stone unturned to win the Trophy.”

Kaymer is a 2-time major championship winner and has also featured in 3 victorious European Ryder Cup teams, and ranked number one in the world for eight weeks in 2011. He said: “I’ve always enjoyed playing and winning in Abu Dhabi, so it really does feel like a second home to me. The Yas Links course is excellent and I’m excited to be captain. This year, the pro team will be playing off +7, which will mean we need to play some great golf to retain the trophy”.

Last year’s event saw Paul McGinley’s Pro Team win by 13½ points to 6½ over Peter Schmeichel’s Celebrity team, which also featured former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo along with rugby union World Cup winner Mike Tindall.

Yas Links is hosting the tournament for the third year in a row. Located on Yas Island, the course is designed to challenge the best golfers in the world – with it being the first Links golf course in the Middle East.

The event, which is raising money for charity, takes place over the 12-13th January and both days remain open to members of the public.

WHAT: Abu Dhabi Invitational
WHERE: Yas Links
WHEN: 12-13th January
CONTACT: For more information visit www.abudhabiinvitational.ae

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Luis Figo and Martin Kaymer to captain teams at Abu Dhabi Invitational 2018

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Ballon D’Or winner Luis Figo and former world No. 1 golfer Martin Kaymer will captain the two sides for the 2018 Abu Dhabi Invitational at the award-winning Yas Links on January 12-13.

Figo, who will captain the ‘celebrity team’, played for Real Madrid, Barcelona and Inter Milan, was the world’s most expensive player in 2000 following his switch from Barcelona to Real Madrid and won domestic and European trophies with all three clubs.

“I am delighted to be captaining the ‘celebrity team’ in the Abu Dhabi Invitational. I have heard great things about Yas Links and the tournament. We look forward to the challenge of facing Martin’s pro team and will leave no stone unturned to win the trophy. Regardless of the result, it’s great to be involved in such a unique charity tournament,” said Figo.

Kaymer is a two-time major championship winner and has also featured in three victorious European Ryder Cup teams. He was ranked as the No. 1 golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking for eight weeks in 2011.

Kaymer commented: “I’ve always enjoyed playing and winning in Abu Dhabi, so it really does feel like a second home to me. The Yas Links course is excellent and I’m excited to be captain. This year, the pro team will be playing off +7, which will mean we need to play some great golf to retain the trophy – but hopefully our amateur partners will play their part!”

Promising to be an unforgettable two days of golf, the Abu Dhabi Invitational is renowned as one of the world’s most prestigious Pro-Celebrity tournaments.

Founded in 2007 by Abdullah Al Naboodah, it has become a must-play for celebrities and professional golfers alike where they are paired with a VIP amateur guest in a Ryder Cup Fourball format.

2017 saw Paul McGinley’s Pro Team win by 13½ points to 6½ over Peter Schmeichel’s Celebrity team, which featured footballing stars Ruud Gullit and Roberto Di Matteo, rugby union World Cup winner Mike Tindall, cricketing legend Jacques Kallis and international popstar Ronan Keating.

The two-day event comprises of the Amateur Championship on Friday, January 12, with invited sponsor and stakeholder guests, before the main Invitational on Saturday, January 13. Both days are open to members of the public and the tournament will once again be raising money for charity.

Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), said: “We are delighted that Luis and Martin will be playing The Abu Dhabi Invitational this year. Luis is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in world football, whilst Martin is a former World No. 1 in the sport of golf. We’re looking forward to announcing the other stars in the coming weeks.”

Howie Roberts, General Manager of Yas Links, said he was thrilled to see the Invitational return to Yas Links.

“Hosting the Abu Dhabi Invitational is always special and we’re delighted to see it return for the fifth year. It is a chance to showcase this fantastic golf course, alongside Yas Island’s global entertainment and hospitality facilities, to an international audience. It is always a wonderful event and we are proud to host it here at Yas Links,” said Roberts.

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