The forthcoming MENA Golf Tour will have a distinct Moroccan flavour to it with as many as 10 golfers from the North African country signing for the brand new Tour that gets under way later this month.
Six professionals and four amateurs from Morocco, which is fast emerging as a premier golf destination, have registered for the Abu Dhabi Golf Citizen Open, the first event on the MENA Golf Tour, hoping to break into the big league and walk tall by letting their performances do the talking.
Moroccan golfers are no neophytes when it comes to playing the game at this level, having regularly competed at the King Hassan II Trophy, now a European Tour event played in a pro-am format in the first two days. At times, they have featured in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on a sponsor’s invitation.
Exposure to the MENA Golf Tour, which comprises four tournaments, will further hone their competitive edge and, hopefully, take their game to a next level. “I think it’s a great opportunity for us to showcase the rising standards of the game in Morocco,” said Younes El Hassani, a leading professional.
“It’s definitely important for people from other countries to see us and know we are playing golf,” said El Hassani, who earlier this year joined a strong Omega Dubai Desert Classic field led by Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods, the three ranked players in the world at the time.
“We are more mentally tougher now and ready for any challenge,” said El Hassani, who will join fellow professionals Abdelhak Sabi, Ahmed-Reda Rhazali, Faycal Serghini, Tarik Benslimane and Abdelkader El Hani in a strong field while Mustapha El-Maouas, Mehdi Saissi, Ahmed Marjan and Karim El Hali will spearhead the Moroccan challenge in the amateur division.
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, Chairman of the MENA Golf Tour, commented: “There is no dearth of talent in Morocco which boasts over 20 courses of international standards, showcasing years of investment in golf from the Moroccan Royal Family.
“What they need is regular exposure at the highest level, and this MENA Golf Tour aims to create that competitive environment, which I hope, will motivate them to work even harder. The fact that as many as 10 golfers have registered for the Tour amply reflects on their enthusiasm for the game. I wish them the very best and hope they have wonderful stay in Dubai.”
The first event at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, starting on September 25 to 28, will be followed by the Ras Al Khaimah Classic to held at the Tower Links Golf Club from October 2 to 5 while the Shaikh Maktoum Dubai Open will be played Al Badia Golf Club from October 9 to 12 before the tour reaches its climax with the ‘Tour Championship’ to be held at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf from October 16 to 19.
The top three professionals and the leading amateur from the Order of Merit will receive special invitations to compete in the 2012 Omega Dubai Desert Classic and, possibly, other European Tour events in the region.
Pic caption: Younes El Hassani … Golf in Morocco is on the upswing