GIANT CROWDS SET NEW ATTENDANCE RECORD
03 - February 2012
Abu Dhabi, UAE. Monday 30th January, 2012: The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship has recorded its highest ever attendance figures, with more than 82,000 fans streaming through National Course gates over the event's four days. The historic numbers represent more than a two-fold increase on last year's numbers - further underlining the Championship's evolution into the Middle East's leading tournament.
"Once again, the Championship has been a massive success and we could not have asked for a better spectator response," said Faisal Al Sheikh, Events Manager, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), the Championship organiser. "It is been a spectacular few days both on and off the course and the huge growth in attendance levels only encourages us to raise the bar higher in coming years."
With England's Robert Rock clinching an unlikely National Course victory, the Championship field included the world's top four players, six of the world's top ten, three current holders of Major titles and 14-time Major winner, Tiger Woods, making his Abu Dhabi debut. The tremendous depth of field saw the Championship named by the Official Golf Rankings as the strongest ever field at a Middle East tournament – and it certainly went down a hit with fans.
"We come every year, but this year is the best," said Abu Dhabi resident, Nazish Usman. "My husband's family have come all the way from Pakistan to watch Tiger Woods play - it's great to see him tee-off for real."
The choice of activities on offer in the Championship Village also wowed visitors. "It's a really good arrangement and you can get very close to the players - I'm having a great time," said William Hatle, on vacation from Norway. "The Championship Village is very cool and I really enjoyed playing the speed serve challenge because I beat my brother!"
The dedicated Children's Zone went down a storm with tiny tots who played freely in the sun. Anna Besetskaya from Russia said: "The section for the kids is wonderful, and the choice of activities is brilliant. My daughters have loved the arts and crafts activities and it's great to watch them play so happily in the outdoors with their faces painted."
Visitors were impressed by the choice of culinary offerings available, which went above and beyond traditional event catering. "I'm amazed at the food they've got on offer here – it's not just burgers and chips, they've got sushi, salads... everything! Only Abu Dhabi can put on such great hospitality for its visitors," said Briton Debbie Finch, who was watching her husband, Richard, compete in the tournament.
Hiamin Azam from Syria added: "I've attended on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and the organisation this year has been really good. I've really enjoyed watching the world's biggest players."