Gary Player Invitational set to return to Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in 2016

Joy Chakravarty 07:58 06/10/2015
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Gary Player shows Emirati kids how a bit of discipline can help you remain fit.

Gary Player, a nine-time major champion and one of golf’s greatest philanthropists, is bringing back the Gary Player Invitational to Abu Dhabi next year.

Black Knight International and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) announced on Monday that the main tournament will be played at the stunning Saadiyat Beach Golf Club – a course Player designed himself – on Monday, February 8.

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The tournament was hosted for one year in 2011, but will now return in a much bigger way after securing a five-year backing of Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

While the organisers refused to divulge any details of the players expected to take part, they did reveal that the tournament will feature 18 fourballs comprising 18 professionals, including ladies, 36 invited businessmen from across the globe and sponsor’s invitees, and 18 celebrities from various walks of life.

The sole aim of the tournament is to raise funds for charities chosen by the ADSC. This is the 16th year of Gary Player Invitational, and they have raised in excess of $60 million through various similar events played in the USA, his home country South Africa, Europe and China.

The 79-year-old Player said: “We are delighted to bring the tournament to Abu Dhabi, which is a place that is very close to my heart.

“I have been coming here for several years now and I love all the things this country has to offer… the culture, the tradition, the architecture and the warmth and hospitality of the people.

“I am delighted if I can do something for the wonderful people here. The benefitting charities will be chosen by ADSC, and I feel blessed to play a part. It is my dream to raise $100 million for charities before I die, and I hope the Abu Dhabi event will contribute in a big manner towards that goal.

“The other aspect is tourism and I am sure that all the invited guests will become great ambassadors of Abu Dhabi and spread the word about the city and the golf here when they go back to their countries after the event.”

His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, was also present during the announcement.

“We are thrilled to announce our new partnership with Black Knight International and look forward to achieving many great things together,” said Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

“I would like to thank HE Sheikh Nahyan for his patronage and with Gary Player’s status as a global golfing icon, the union of three such powerful forces provides us with a unique opportunity to deliver on Abu Dhabi Sports Council’s guiding mission of integrating sports and Abu Dhabi society to form healthier communities.”

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