The world’s top ranked golfers from the PGA and European Tours have once again signed up to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA, which returns to the iconic Abu Dhabi Golf Club for the 14th consecutive year from January 16-19, 2019. As part of the Rolex Series – the premium tournament category on the European Tour’s International Schedule – this year’s edition is to be one of the season’s unmissable events, with the prize fund increasing to US$7million. In what promises to be one of the most competitive line-ups to date, two-time reigning champion and Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood will join world number three and 19-time PGA TOUR winner, Dustin Johnson, in returning to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA. History is at stake as Fleetwood bids to fight off his rivals to win the title for a record-equalling third year; a feat which has, so far, only been achieved by Martin Kaymer (2008, 2010, 2011). No player has ever won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA three years in a row.
One of the most important initiatives in the European Tour’s history, the Rolex Series is the premium tournament category on the Tour’s International Schedule, elevating world-class events into unmissable sporting occasions. Comprising eight events in 2018, staged in a variety of iconic golfing locations around the world, the tournaments feature the biggest names in the sport. Tournaments are part of the Rolex Series due to their quality, their prize fund and their ability to entertain golf fans like never before, both on the course as well as through television and on-line innovation.
HH Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council:
“We are once again thrilled to host the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA, the fourteenth time we have done so, but the first time as a top-tier Rolex Series event. Since its inauguration, the event has played an increasingly significant role in developing Abu Dhabi’s impressive sports portfolio and has now become one of the jewels in its crown. Residents and visitors have come to expect only the very best quality action as the top sports stars from all around the world continue to flow into Abu Dhabi to showcase their talent.
Sport has a vital role to play in spreading awareness of what Abu Dhabi has to offer as a destination for tourism, culture and business, and 2019 will see this continue more strongly than ever.”
H.E. Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “It is a privilege to welcome back these leading names to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA in 2019, and we look forward to giving details of more top players in the near future. The fact that players such as Dustin Johnson and, of course, our defending champion Tommy Fleetwood are again returning to Abu Dhabi not only reflects how much players enjoy the event, but also further reinforces the Emirate’s credentials as global sporting destination. Abu Dhabi’s reputation for hosting the world’s premium events is rapidly consolidating our status as a ‘Global Capital of World Sport’, and announcements such as these – together with our elevation to the European Tour’s elite Rolex Series – further enhances this position.”
Abdulfattah Sharaf CEO of HSBC UAE, said: “The elevation of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA to become a Rolex Series event is exciting news. We are now the first event of the 2019 Rolex season, adding a new dimension to a series that has had an extremely successful first two years and boosted the game of golf. Since its inception, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship has attracted the best players from around the globe, such as Dustin and Tommy who will be back in Abu Dhabi for 2019, bringing the same flair there as they do to our other partner events in Shanghai, to Singapore and The Open Championship. We look forward to seeing some of the game’s greatest players coming together at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship to once again help shape the future of golf in the region.”
Laurent Delanney, Rolex Global Head of Sponsorships and Partnerships said: “The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA is one of golf’s premium events that hosts premium players and we are delighted to add it to the Rolex Series. The partnership reflects our long-standing commitment to The European Tour and we are in no doubt that the addition of the tournament to The Rolex Series will help enhance its reputation on a global scale.”
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “We are thrilled that the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA has become part of The Rolex Series. It is a landmark addition that broadens the Series further and helps to strengthen the European Tour both globally and in the UAE. This event attracts some of the world’s top players like Dustin and Tommy, and we are looking forward to watching four days of high-quality, compelling and dramatic golf.”
Abdulla Kalban, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), said: “This is the second year Emirates Global Aluminium has been a presenting partner of this tournament, and it is an honour that the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA has been selected to be an elite event on the European tour. Golf brings people together and plays an important role for us as we develop the relationships we need around the world.”
Tommy Fleetwood, two-time reigning champion, said: “I have had an amazing couple of years and it all really started at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA. The 2017 win was massive but then I think defending my title earlier this year was very special as it is extremely tough to do. I think it is one of the strongest events on tour and it so deserves its place on the Rolex Series and I know this will be a popular decision amongst the players. I love everything about Abu Dhabi, from the course to the hotels to the restaurants and, of course, returning as the defending champion. I can’t wait to be back in January.”
Dustin Johnson, world number three, said: “Having played the event for the last two years, I’m really looking forward to returning. I enjoy being in Abu Dhabi and have made several friends during my visits. The golf course is one of the best and most well-conditioned. We play all-year and it always presents a good, fair test. I’ve played OK there in the past, but hopefully, this will be my year to get the win.”
First staged in 2006, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA has quickly evolved into one of the strongest events on the European Tour which regularly attracts the world’s elite players to the Middle East at the start of the season. The list of former champions includes a number of global champions: Martin Kaymer (2008, 2010, 2011) Paul Casey (2007,2009) Tommy Fleetwood (2017, 2018) and Ricky Fowler (2016)
The tournament now joins the Rolex Series, which features the European Tour’s premium events, staged in a variety of golfing locations around the world, each with a minimum prize fund of US$7million. As in 2017, the Rolex Series comprises eight events, and showcases innovation, enhanced broadcast and digital coverage and world class players.