UAE Golf Online caught up with Adrian Flaherty, commissioner of the Mena Golf Tour and asked him for some of he’s current thoughts as we are about to enter a new era for Golf in this region with the first event starting at Saadiyat very soon.
Q: Can you give a little update on the Tour progression so far leading up to the starting event?
A: Yes, we are well on course. We have been organizing major golf tournaments for a long time and know what to expect. Indeed, putting together a brand new Tour requires extra planning and, above all, its execution. Each event presents its own challenges. You are always on the edge, trying to ensure each and every one is comfortable and return home with good memories. Preparations are a never-ending process, you keep thinking of setting new standards. I am confident we will be able to deliver an event to remember.
Q: Are you all eager at golf in DUBAi to get the first event under way?
A: These are exciting times at golf in DUBAi and it feels nice to part of a bit of history in the making. The Tour presents a new challenge, but we can always draw inspiration from our success in staging the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters. Like everyone, we also can’ wait for the first ball to be struck.
Q: Have you been pleased by the first Mena Tour response so far?
A: Very much. The Tour has generated a good response with players, both professionals and amateurs, signing up from different parts of the world. The response from the region is also quite encouraging.
Q: Are your allocated spaces completely full now?
A: Entries are still pouring in. By this week we will be in a position to finalise the field. I don’t see any problem with allocating spaces.
Q: One of the last press releases mentioned about the many different nationalities, this must be extremely exciting that the idea has attracted a global gathering?
A: Yes, indeed, the MENA Golf Tour will have a global look it, like any other major tour in the world. It’s quite encouraging to see players from countries which traditionally are not that strong in golf also registering for Tour events. For instance, players from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Kenya, Brunei, Philippines to a name a few countries will join golfers from UK, Australia, US and from the MENA region.
Q: Is it satisfying to see some of the local talent jumping on board?
A: The tour would help bridge the gap in class that faces promising amateurs here. Most of these boys have played golf socially and they know that competing on a proper Tour from the Championship tees would be a difference ball game. The tour will create a competitive environment for them to test their skills. And exposure to these events will certainly help them take their game to a new level.
Q: Do you think the quality of the field will be a stern test for these local guys?
A: No question about that. The Tour events will help hone their competitive edge and will also provide a reality check. They would know where they stand and will have the motivation to work hard.
Q: Have other Golf Clubs in the region shown an interest in the second season already before this one has kicked off?
A: The clubs here are more than willing to host the MENA Golf Tour events. All the clubs that we approached were excited to be part of the Tour. At the moment, we are concentrating our energies to this inaugural edition of the Tour and will think about the second edition when the time comes. The plan is to expand the Tour and travel to different countries in the region as we move forward.
Q: Have there been any other developments or changes in the way the tour will operate since you originally launched the idea?
A: Not really. A lot of thinking had gone into the details before we announced the Tour. Things are falling well in place and we are pleased about it. We needed to have a hard look at the numerous logistics involved. Also, we are charting somewhat unknown territory and hence would like to move ahead step by step. Certainly, the first edition of the tour will be a great learning curve for all us, including the players.
UAE Golf Online would like to thank Adrian for his time and we would like to wish golf in DUBAi all the best for all 4 events.
You can follow the latest news on UAE Golf Online for the Mena Golf Tour on the website and we are looking forward to bringing you the results and helping to spread the word on this groundbreaking Golfing event for the region.