The MENA Golf Tour fits perfectly into the larger scheme of things if the region’s players, including the UAE, are to realize their ambitions of competing on the bigger stage, especially the Asian Games or even the 2016 Olympics where the sport is making a comeback after a 112-year absence.
The tour, now in its second edition, has assumed a special significance with the UAE National Olympic Committee officially endorsing golf in its portfolio of sports, thus clearing the way for the country’s leading players to start dreaming about the “biggest moments of their careers.”
“There are hundreds of young golfers in the region who would be proud to represent their country and it would be an honour for anyone who plays this game to be part of the Asian Games and Olympic Games,” said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the MENA Golf Tour.
“Hard work and exposure to high-intensity competitions are vital ingredients to preparing the players for top flight golf, and the MENA Golf Tour has the strength in depth to provide competition that would challenge the players and fine tune their skills required to compete at this level.
“Our intention is to develop amateurs who represent their country through this Tour because we feel they are the ones who will encourage more people to take up golf – and not Woods and Westwoods,” he said. “The added incentives, of course, are the spots that we offer to top golfers on the Order of Merit — – three professionals and one leading amateur — to compete in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
“We have created a springboard for the players to benefit from it and, hopefully, they will set new standards,” said Buamaim, who thanked the UAE NOC for its initiative to recognize golf, which is fast becoming popular among the Emiratis.
The Tour, he explained, is not UAE specific. “It is meant to create playing opportunities for all those keen on playing at the top level or planning on making a career out of golf. It’s a stepping stone to the exciting world of international golf.”
The second edition of the MENA Tour, which is scheduled to kick off in September this year, will have a true regional flavour with stops in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and possibly, Morocco. With more tournaments, more prize money on offer, the tour is expected to attract a strong field with players who have featured on the Challenge Tour and Asian Tour events adding to its strength.
If a MENA Golf Tour player goes on to establish his credentials on the international circuit, it will just be a sign of the times in an ever-changing world. “This calls us to join hands, group our efforts and set off to make this dream come true,” he said.