FLAG-BEARER HISTORY CHASER: EMIRATI GOLFER TO SWING WITH WORLD’S BEST AT ABU DHABI HSBC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
17 - January 2012
UAE’s Number One Player Ahmed Al Musharrekh Aiming to Make Cut
16 January, 2012 – Abu Dhabi, UAE: Twenty-one-year-old golfer, Ahmed Al Musharrekh, the UAE’s top ranked national player, is determined to make history and become the first Emirati to make the cut at this month’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, running January 26-29 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
Having emerged as the top-ranked Emirati from last year’s debut MENA Tour, which was played out across four UAE courses, Al Musharrekh - who narrowly missed the cut on his maiden Abu Dhabi performance as an amateur in 2010 – secured an invitation to contest the event from Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), the Championship organiser.
“It really is an amazing opportunity to be playing in this tournament,” said Al Musharrekh. “I just want to play freely and enjoy the experience. Some of the greatest players in the history of the game are playing so there is definitely going to be some pressure, but my goal is to make the cut and if I do I’ll be doing my best to move up the leaderboard and really compete.”
The chance to make history is not lost on the confident amateur, who is looking to turn professional this year. “When I played in the Championship a few years ago I was still very young and inexperienced,” he added. “My game has improved a lot in the past few years and I am lot more confident of making the cut and getting my place in the history books. I feel relaxed and I’m going to go out and have some fun – it’s the only way I know.”
Arguably the strongest field ever assembled for a Middle East tournament stands in Al Musharrekh’s way and headlining the stellar cast is current world number one Luke Donald, defending champion and three-time Abu Dhabi winner Martin Kaymer, and three reigning Major champions, including Charl Schwartzel (US Masters), Rory McIlroy (US Open) and Darren Clarke (British Open). Fourteen-time Major winner Tiger Woods is also making his Abu Dhabi debut, while former world number Lee Westwood returns for another shot at the ‘Falcon’ trophy.
Using a consistent, globe-trotting season last year as a form guide, Al Musharrekh seems better positioned to challenge the world’s best. After representing the UAE in September’s Asian Amateur Championship held in Singapore – he produced the best performance by an Emirati on the international circuit by finishing 24th out of the 120-strong field - Al Musharrekh helped the UAE to its finest performance at the Nomura Cup, the top amateur competition in Asia and Australasia. Buoyed on by their star player, the squad also finished third in the team standings at the Arab Golf Championship in Morocco, while Al Musharrekh also represented the
UAE in the Arab Games held in Doha, Qatar, where he won two gold medals, one on his own and one with the UAE team.
“I was more excited about golf and played very well throughout the year,” said Al Musharrekh, who balances life as an amateur golfer with studying for a business management degree at the American University in Dubai. “I was more motivated, I wanted to do well against the best amateurs around the world. The confidence is now there and if I stick to the game plan, and not try to play too aggressively, I will hopefully have another great year ahead.”
UAE team coach Chris Vallender agrees that if Al Musharrekh plays to his strengths he is in for a good show later this month in front of his home crowd.
“He has set his sights on making the cut and he undoubtedly has the talent and the game to do that,” said Vallendar. “Ahmed is very much a rhythm-type player; he has found some motivation and is playing some good golf. He also has belief in his ability, has a strong character and enjoys being around the top players. It would be great to have a strong local support getting behind him at the Championship.”
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 HSBC: 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
+971 (0) 55 980 6679