The PGA TOUR begins its season each year in Hawaii. Over the years several big names have decided to wait until the TOUR arrives on the mainland before starting their season. On the European Tour, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is more often than not when the stars come out to play. Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods have decided to kick star their year at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, January 17-20, 2013. "The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship has become the traditional curtain-raiser to the new season and the past couple of years have seen the event establish itself as the jewel in the crown of Middle Eastern golf,” said Simon Cooper, Deputy Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Middle East & North Africa. "Next year marks our tenth anniversary as a major international sponsor of golf and this is a great way to kick off a landmark year for us. In the last decade we are proud to have sponsored 30 tournaments around the world and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is right up there as a major global event and an important showcase for golf in the Middle East," said HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship and Events Giles Morgan.
“As a centre of international trade, Abu Dhabi is a very fitting location for this high profile HSBC event. With the support of local governments, this region is now a major player on golf's global stage - 2012's event witnessed the strongest field ever assembled in the Middle East - and we're anticipating an even stronger line up for 2013," Cooper added.
The world’s top two players, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, will head an all-star cast of the biggest names in golf at the eighth annual Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship - running January 17-20 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. After captivating local galleries when paired over the opening 54 holes of this year’s tournament, McIlroy and Woods will once again battle for Abu Dhabi’s falcon trophy and a share of the event’s US $2.7 million prize purse. “Confirming Rory and Tiger, the world’s top two players and a duo with well-documented respect and admiration for each other’s talents, represents a significant coup and demonstrates how far the Championship has come in its relatively short history,” stated Faisal Al Sheikh, Event Manager, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), the Championship organizer. “Rory and Tiger are true giants of the game and represent only our opening salvo – we are actively working to bring another world-class field to Abu Dhabi and further player announcements will be made in coming weeks.”
Several promotions introduced this year will also back in 2013, such as the popular ‘Dress in Red Day.’ Any visitor with red in their outfit - whether something simple like a red hat or even red accessories – enters free on the Championship’s penultimate day. Championship tickets are priced at AED50 (US$13.3) for a daily pass and AED150 (US$ 40) for a four-day pass, Emirates Golf Federation members and children under-18 – when accompanied by an adult – enter free. HSBC customers can also redeem exclusive ticket offers by simply presenting their cards at the entry gate as they make their way to see Tiger and Rory.
“I’ve come close a few times in Abu Dhabi now – hopefully it’s my turn,” McIlroy revealed via a live telephone link at the event’s official launch at five-star The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort – the Championship’s new official hotel partner.
“This will be the first time I’ve headed to Abu Dhabi as world number one and I’m determined to keep the wins coming and cement my ranking. The strength of the field means there will be a ton of world ranking points on offer so Abu Dhabi will be a really significant tournament that sets the tone for the year. I had a great tussle with Tiger nine months ago and I’m sure he’ll be in contention again. We’ve spent a lot of time playing together this year and it’s always fun challenging the best. I’ve made no secret of the fact he’s a hero of mine and there’s nothing better than tussling with your heroes.”
After memorably performing a traditional Emirati ayala dance prior to this year’s opening round, Woods is eager to find his groove when he returns to the emirate in three months time. “I had heard so much about Abu Dhabi in the past and I was very impressed by the crowds, the organization and the overall atmosphere,” said Tiger. “I really enjoyed my time in Abu Dhabi and I wanted to return, particularly as I played well and came so close last year. I’d love nothing more than to win in January and start the season in the best possible way.”
With Woods-McIlroy confirmed, organizers are confident the effect ensuring this year’s Championship shattered its own four-day attendance record by attracting more than 82,000 spectators to the National Course, the event’s title sponsor, HSBC, believes the stellar cast lined up for January will further cement the tournament’s billing on the international golf calendar.