SCHWARTZEL’S NEW YEAR RESOLVE TO ‘MASTER’ ABU DHABI’S NATIONAL COURSE
10 - January 2012
10 January, 2012 – Abu Dhabi, UAE: Reigning US Masters champion, Charl Schwartzel’s New Year’s Resolution is to follow-up the best season of his career by becoming the first South African to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which runs January 26-29 on Abu Dhabi Golf Club’s National Course.
Having started 2011 by defending his Johannesburg Open title, Schwartzel’s historic year – which ended with him ranked world number nine - included a maiden Major victory, a debut Presidents Cup appearance and representing his homeland in golf’s world cup.
While winning the Masters’ iconic Green Jacket was the undoubted season highlight, it was overall consistency that underscored Schwartzel’s breakthrough year on the European PGA Tour. As well as posting nine top 10 finishes, he made the cut in all four Majors, completing the 16 rounds in 1,118 shots – 10 fewer than his closest rival, Steve Stricker. Repeating that consistency, believes Schwartzel, is key to his Abu Dhabi hopes.
“The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship gets tougher each year,” he said. “This event has one of the strongest fields outside of the Major championships. With three Major winners and the four most recent world number ones, you’re going to see some very special golf and the winner will fully deserve the title. Hopefully I can continue my form and that winner will be me.”
Alongside Schwartzel, the other Major holders in what is arguably the strongest field ever assembled for a Middle East tournament are Rory McIlroy (US Open) and Darren Clarke (British Open), while current world number one, Luke Donald, and former world number ones Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods - making his Abu Dhabi debut – also feature.
Add into the mix the past two Abu Dhabi champions Martin Kaymer (2008, 2010, 2011) and Paul Casey (2007, 2009), along with young Australian sensation, Jason Day, and Korean powerhouse, KJ Choi, and Schwartzel’s path to the Falcon trophy is strewn with hurdles. The South African’s confidence, however, is not in short supply.
“Last year was my best year ever,” added Schwartzel. “There was nothing to complain about, no negatives. It was a year of good and consistent performances. The biggest challenge will be to improve on this in the new year and winning in Abu Dhabi would be a great way to start!”
With an announcement regarding the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship’s future host venue expected on the final day of this year’s play (January 29), another incentive driving Schwartzel is returning to the emirate in
12 months time as defending champion when the tournament may be held at the Gary Player designed Saadiyat Beach Golf Club – which, alongside Yas Links Golf Club, is in the running to host the 2013 event.
“I obviously know Gary very well and I know he is very proud of what he has achieved at Saadiyat from both playing and environmental perspectives,” said Schwartzel. “It would be a fantastic feeling coming back next year as champion knowing that we’ll be playing Gary’s course – it would be a great moment for South African golf.”
Charl Schwartzel’s career highlights include:
- Winning the World Junior Golf Team Championships in Japan when he was 16, along with Louis Oosthuizen, Albert Kruger and Christian Ries. (2001)
- Winning his first European Tour event – the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek in the 2004/05 season. Charl was two shots behind going into the final round and won in a play-off.
- Winning the Spanish Open in 2007. Eagle on 16 setting up the victory.
- Winning two European Tour events back to back: the Africa Open and Joburg Open in 2010. It’s not easy putting eight consecutive good rounds together, says Charl.
- Winning the Masters: “Winning a Major is the greatest prize in golf”
About ADTA: Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) has wide ranging responsibilities for managing and assisting the development of the emirate's tourism industry and the marketing and promotion of the emirate as a world-class destination of distinction. Its responsibilities include; destination marketing; infrastructure and product development and regulation and classification. A key role is to create synergy in the international promotion of Abu Dhabi through close co-ordination with the emirate's hotels, destination management companies, airlines and other public and private sector travel-related organisations.
About HBSC: HSBC provides a comprehensive range of financial services to around 89 million customers through four global businesses; Global Retail Banking & Wealth Management, Global Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets and Global Private Banking.
HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 7,500 offices in over 80 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, North and Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. With assets of US$2,716bn at 30 September 2011, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.
HSBC in the MENA Region
HSBC is the largest and most widely represented international banking organisation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with operations in 14 countries. HSBC has branches and offices in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Algeria and the Palestinian Autonomous Area. In Saudi Arabia, HSBC is a 40% shareholder of Saudi British Bank (SABB), and a 60% shareholder of HSBC Saudi Arabia Limited for wholesale and investment banking in the Kingdom. In Iraq, HSBC holds a majority shareholding in Dar Es Salaam Investment Bank. HSBC also maintains a representative office in Libya.
This presence, the widest coverage of any bank in the region, comprises some 285 branches and offices, and around 12,000 people. In the full year 2010, HSBC made a profit before tax of $892 million in the MENA region.
HSBC Golf Sponsorships
HSBC’s global commitment to golf encompasses all levels of the game, from grassroots to elite. In addition to its flagship WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai and HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore as well as acting as a Patron of the Open Championship, HSBC has expanded its portfolio to include both the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and, as golf returns to the Olympic Games for Rio 2016, the HSBC LPGA Brasil Cup, the nation’s one genuinely global golf event.
However, underpinning those blue-riband events is a longer-term goal to create a legacy from HSBC’s global tournaments through its sponsorship of youth development and grassroots programmes. The world’s local bank is supporting the HSBC China Junior Golf Program - a sustainable long-term structure and framework upon which the future of Chinese golf is being built. This includes the HSBC-sponsored China National Junior Team, the HSBC China Junior Open and the HSBC National Junior Golf Championship: a year-long series of tournaments designed to give China’s elite junior golfers the competitive platform they need to develop their game.
In Asia HSBC has spearheaded the arrival of world class golf events and the HSBC Champions is the continent’s first World Golf Championships event and the region’s leading men’s tournament. Last year the then world-number-one Tiger Woods described it as “The crowning jewel of all of Asian golf.” Since its inception in 2005 the event has attracted world-class fields and its last two winners, in the form of Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia, have highlighted its stature. Three-time Major champion Padraig Harrington revealed that he believed creating the HSBC Champions was “a turning point for Asian golf”.
For more details on HSBC's golf activities, visit www.hsbcgolf.com
IMG Worldwide is a global sports, entertainment and media business, with nearly 3,000 employees operating in 30 countries around the globe. IMG’s areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging: IMG College; IMG’s Joint Ventures in China, Brazil and India; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG Clients; IMG Academies; IMG Consulting and IMG Licensing. More
information is available at www.imgworld.com. Follow us on twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/IMG_Worldwide and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/IMGWorldwide
For all media enquiries please contact:
John Rynehart at Four Communications
email@example.com / +971 (0) 55 980 6679