Arena Middle East & Asia will bring the MENA Tour under one roof as umbrella sponsors of the world’s most exciting development tour.
Following an agreement with Arena Middle East & Asia, the Tour is now called the MENA Tour by Arena.
Returning to the world schedule after a year of restructuring, the MENA Tour features 10 tournaments in 2019 – five of which, apart from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic Shootout and two stages of the Qualifying School, were played earlier in the year and five are being played currently as part of the autumn schedule. The Abu Dhabi Open by Arena, to be played this week at Yas Links, is the seventh leg of the season.
The number of tournaments is expected to grow in the coming years and the MENA Tour continues to provide Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points, thus making it a perfect pathway for ambitious young professionals to reach the bigger tours, and also for the players from the region to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Commenting on the sponsorship, Paul Berger, CEO of Arena Middle East & Asia, said: “Arena has been an integral part of the growth of golf in the Middle East, having provided infrastructure to almost every big tournament here since their inception.
“Golf forms a major part of our portfolio and the MENA Tour gives us a great opportunity to visit some of the leading golf courses and countries in the region. We are also very confident that our partnership with the tour will help play a massive role in nurturing a home-grown champion very soon.”
As part of the sponsorship, Arena will also have the naming rights to three tournaments in the autumn schedule – in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Ras Al Khaimah.
With sustainability a major part of their new initiatives, Arena Middle East & Asia have helped the tour introduce a new ‘No single-use plastic bottles’ policy starting from Abu Dhabi. Arena will give each player a steel water bottle and put up refill stations throughout the golf course.
David Spencer, tour advisor, added: “The MENA Tour is committed to become the most preferred development tour in the world. We have enhanced the prize fund of each tournament, increased the playing opportunities for our members and streamlined the schedule.
“There are many more plans in the pipeline, but these do need corporate support. The partnership with Arena and their vision for the region makes it all possible. We are truly thankful to Paul Berger and his team for the faith that they have shown in us.”
The Greg Norman-designed Ayla Golf Club in Aqaba and Jordan have been named as the destination partners of the tour. The Order of Merit on the tour is now called ‘Journey To Jordan’. Ayla hosted the Qualifying School and two $100,000 events, and will also be the host venue of the season-ending Tour Championship.
Several incentives and playing opportunities have been lined up for the members this year. The top-two professionals and the leading amateur in their respective Journey to Jordan rankings will get a spot in the 2020 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
The leading professional from a separate money list counted over the last five tournaments of the season also gets into the oldest European Tour event in the region when it returns to the iconic Majlis course of Emirates Golf Club in January.
The tour gave out various spots to players based on their winnings and standing on the Order of Merit to established European, Asian and European Challenge Tour events.
For the first four tournaments on the autumn schedule, another separate money list called the ‘Penultimate Four’ will see the winner getting a chance to play back-to-back Asian Tour events in New Delhi (Panasonic Open India) and Bangkok (Thailand Open).
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