The MENA Tour by Arena announced a new-look schedule for 2020, condensing the calendar to first four months of the year and unveiling a number of exciting new events.
The season will kick off with the two stages of Qualifying School (starting January 20-23 and January 26-29) at Ayla Golf Club in Aqaba, Jordan, which remains the Destination Partner of the Tour and hosts a further three full-field events. This includes the season ending Arena Championship (April 19-23), which will become the first tournament on the Tour to be played over 72 holes since the 2017 MENA Championship.
The first full-field event, Journey To Jordan #1 (February 2-5), tees off at Ayla Golf Club immediately after the Qualifying Schools, which will see a minimum of 30 players from each stage securing their cards for the season. Entries for the Qualifying School will open on November 1, 2019.
Explaining the rationale behind the new schedule, David Spencer, Strategic Advisor to the MENA Tour by Arena, said: “There are two very good reasons why we decided to have the Tour schedule packed in one continuous stretch rather than have two legs in Spring and an Autumn.
“Most development Tours do not start until the end of April, mostly because of the playing conditions in Europe. We are fortunate to have perfect weather in the Middle East during that period. This gives our players a solid run of tournaments, which is great preparation for them going into the summer.
“Also, it just simplifies things logistically for our players and makes the cost of ‘life’ on the Tour more affordable. With the multitude of playing opportunities we provide on European, Asian and the Challenge Tours, the new-look schedule dovetails perfectly with the other Tours.”
An interesting part of the schedule is the introduction of two new multi course tournaments – the Northern Emirates Open, to be held at Al Hamra Golf Club in Ras Al Khaimah and the Al Zorah Golf Club in Ajman; and The Triple Crown in Abu Dhabi, which will be played at Yas Links Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Beach and Abu Dhabi Golf Club. These events will further showcase the incredible array of golf courses in the MENA region.
Another first in the history of the Tour is the MENA Tour by Arena Invitational ProAm (March 22-25, venue to be announced shortly). It will become the first tournament to be played over three days in a ProAm format (like AT&T Pebble Beach National ProAm or Dunhill Links Championship).
In April, the Tour will also visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the first time since 2015 for The Saudi Classic. The venue for the tournament will be the Royal Greens Golf Club in King Abdullah Economic City, the host venue of the new Saudi Invitational on the European Tour.
The Sultanate of Oman will host the MENA Tour for two back-to-back tournaments – The Muscat Open at Muscat Hills (Feb 10-13) and The Ghala Open at Ghala Golf Club (Feb 16-19)
The season ending Arena Championship will feature an increased prize fund of $125,000. It will also become a full-field event for the first time in the history of the MENA Tour, providing players with increased playing opportunities and increased Official World Golf Ranking points (five points to the winner as it become a four-round event).
The MENA Tour by Arena continues to provide Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points, thus making it a perfect pathway for ambitious young professional to the bigger tours, and for the players from the region to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.