ABU DHABI SERVES UP TEE-TIME HOSPITALITY
15 - January 2013
Under the watchful eye of a camel named Hero, three of the world’s top players - Rory McIlroy (1), Tiger Woods (2) and Justin Rose (5) - indulged in a taste of traditional Arabian hospitality at the award-winning Abu Dhabi Golf Club, as coffee-break chat, emirate-wide, centred on who will lift the Falcon Trophy at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
The three golfing giants savoured the highly-aromatic coffee, infused with health-giving cardamom, traditionally thought to have antioxidant benefits, in a gesture Emiratis use to bid travellers welcome.
And ahead of the US $2.7 million PGA European Tour-backed championship, which tees off Thursday, the three ‘giants’ were hoping the unique refreshment would be just the tonic to see off the Desert Swing opener’s world-class field.
“It’s a tiny cup but as we know in golf, like a ball, sometimes something small goes a long way,” joked Woods, back in the emirate following a tied-third place finish last year. “There’s definitely a kick to it and I enjoyed it. I’m off to the range now, so lets see if it helps my game. If it does, maybe we can get a station on every tee-box.”
Rose, primed to make his Abu Dhabi debut, added: “It took me a few cups before Rory told me you have to shake the cup to show you’re done,” he said. “No wonder the cups are small – it’s the only way you can drink so many.”
With long-established links to the UAE, McIlroy declared the Abu Dhabi brew was one of the finest he’d sampled. “I’m a big coffee fan and they certainly know how to make good coffee out here in Abu Dhabi. I'm not sure I would drink something that strong before teeing it up though,” quipped the world number one.
Putting coffee aside, golf is the flavour of choice in Abu Dhabi for the next few days, as the world’s best contest the eighth annual Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship
In addition to McIlroy, Woods and Rose, Open champion Ernie Els is contesting the Championship for the first time, while Jason Dufner, the world number nine, is making his Desert Swing debut. With triple Abu Dhabi champion, Martin Kaymer, hunting title number four and England’s Paul Casey eyeing a third Falcon trophy, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke and defending champion, Robert Rock, are also in the region’s leading international field.
Championship tickets are available via the event’s official website – www.abudhabigolfchampionship.com - as well as online at www.timeouttickets.com. Customer service can be contacted through the ITP toll-free hotline 800 4669, or for international visitors, +971 4 444 3459. Tickets can also be bought at the gate throughout the Championship.
Championship sponsors have also rolled-out fan-friendly mechanisms for spectators to secure free entry. Members of Etihad Guest, the frequent flyer programme of Etihad Airways, the UAE’s national Carrier, and
HSBC customers receive will be waved in when they show their cards at the gate, while Cadillac car key holders can also watch the world’s best for free by presenting their Cadillac car key at the entrance. Additionally, spectators wearing a Nike tick also avoid paying for tickets, while ladies enter free on Friday - the Championship’s official ‘Ladies Day’.