Paul Broadhurst is looking forward to getting back in action at the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq with the defence of his Senior Open Championship in July fixed clearly in his sights.
“After all the rain they’ve had in the United Arab Emirates recently it will be good to be playing in the sunshine again at Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club in this inaugural event – the first time a European Senior Tour event has been played on a 9-hole course,” says reigning European Senior Tour Number One Broadhurst who will be among the star names lining up in the event which is taking place from March 16-18.
“I’ve played very little this year and the weather so far in England certainly hasn’t been conducive to golf. My first competitive round of 2017 will be in the Pro-Am at Sharjah on Tuesday next week and I can’t wait. I played in the first Dubai Desert Classic in 1989 and since then I have loved coming to play in the Middle East.”
Broadhurst had to bide his time to join the Senior ranks following the end of his career on the European Tour, which had seen him win six titles. He was even considering giving up the game or going into coaching prior to turning 50 midway through the 2015 season and being granted a new lease of life on the European Senior Tour.
“I had waited almost four years to play on the Senior Tour,” says the 51 year old Englishman, who won his first Senior Major by defeating American Scott McCarron by two shots over the daunting Carnoustie Links on his Senior Open Championship debut last year before heading to the USA and another famous links course, at Pebble Beach, where he won the Nature Valley First Tee Open.
His stunning victory in the United States earned him the accolade of Rookie of the Year on the PGA Tour Champions, having collected the prestigious John Jacobs Trophy as Number One on the European Senior Tour Order of Merit following the MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius.
“Life changed dramatically for me thanks to that breakthrough win in the Senior Open at Carnoustie,” says Broadhurst who won both of his matches in The Ryder Cup in 1991 at Kiawah Island. “People ask which was the biggest and best win of my career, and without doubt I have to say the Senior Open. However, it was extremely satisfying to follow that up by beating the Americans in their own ‘back yard’. I felt it proved that Carnoustie wasn’t a flash in the pan and it probably earned me the respect of my peers over there. It doesn’t really come much bigger than winning at Carnoustie and then Pebble Beach.”
Broadhurst is hoping to recreate the form that made him a Senior star when he returns for the defence of his Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club this summer and he’s delighted to be starting the build up to that in the UAE as the Senior Tour comes to Sharjah for the first time.
“The courses are fantastic, the weather is nearly always great, the hotels are wonderful and the people are so friendly,” he says. “I played in the Sharjah Senior Invitational Pro-Am last March with Des Smyth, Malcolm Mackenzie and Ronan Rafferty, which was an ideal way of introducing the main event onto the Senior Tour Schedule, and I enjoyed every moment.”
The Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq takes place at Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club from March 16-18 and entry is free of charge for all.