When Javier Ballesteros tees it up at the 2014 Omega Dubai Desert Classic, memories of his iconic father, the great Seve, pumping his fist in celebration after winning the event in 1992, will come alive, reverberating around the Majlis course, if not the world.
The pressure to emulate the deeds of his dad may be huge, but Ballesteros junior is committed to carry on the legacy of man, who has been hailed as the king of European golf and “Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus rolled into one” for his dashing and imaginative style of play.
To honour the memory of Seve Ballesteroes on the landmark 25th anniversary celebrations of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, golf in DUBAi has extended a special invitation to his eldest son to join a star-studded field, which will be highlighted by the presence world number one Tiger Woods, Europe’s newly-crowned number one Henrik Stenson and Northern Ireland’s golf sensation Rory McIlroy among other past champions.
“We have invited all past champions to join the celebrations. We would have loved to see Seve in the field. Sadly, he is no more with us today, but he will always be in our heart and thoughts,” said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi.
“Seve was a great champion and an even greater human being, who transformed European golf. We hope the presence of Javier will help keep the Seve spirit alive. Javier is young and talented and has good qualities to become a worthy successor to his father’s legacy. I wish him the very best and hope he has a wonderful trip to Dubai,” he said.
Javier has already taken the first step on the road to following in the footsteps of his legendary father — a five-time major champion and Ryder Cup-winning player and captain — when he made his debut on the Challenge Tour in April this year.
He may have missed the cut, but described it a very good experience. “My mother and father always supported me to play golf, but both always told me that studies come first,” he said.
“With every day that passes I enjoy golf more, but I do not plan challenges or set goals. For now I enjoy, have fun.
“With so many big names in the field, it will be fun to play in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. I am really grateful to golf in DUBAi for remembering my father and giving me the chance to play.
“I really appreciate their gesture and congratulate them on behalf of my family on the 25th anniversary of the event,” said Javier, who won the amateur Madrid Open last year.
“I am looking forward to visiting Dubai and playing on the same course where my father’s victory in 1992 is still talked about. It’s going to be a double excitement for me.”
The 25th edition of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic gets under way at Emirates Golf Club from January 30 to February 2, 2014. The tournament will be preceded by the Champions Challenge 18-hole stroke-play event, featuring past winners, on January 28.
‘golf in DUBAi’ is backed by Omega as the title sponsor and Dubal (Dubai Aluminium) as the sponsor. The co-sponsors are: CNN, Drydocks World & Maritime World, Emirates NBD, Gulf News, Mercedes-Benz and wasl while Dubai Duty Free, Carpetland and Motivate are the Patrons in golf in DUBAi’s drive to showcase the emirate’s vibrant golfing scene to a worldwide audience.