Ryder Cup stars Karlsson, Colsaerts boost field

MUSCAT: The field for the inaugural NBO Oman Open has been further strengthened by the addition of Ryder Cup stars Robert Karlsson and Nicolas Colsaerts. Taking place at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat from February 15-18, the tournament, which represents the biggest professional sports event ever to take place in the Sultanate, has caught the imagination of players and golf fans alike. The pair, who boast 13 European Tour titles between them, add weight to an impressive line-up that also includes fellow Ryder Cup players Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood and Stephen Gallagher along with former Open Champion Paul Lawrie (also a two-time Ryder Cup participant), 2016 Open de Espana winner Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston and 2017 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters champion Jeunghun Wang.
“I’m really looking forward to the tournament,” said Karlsson who won both the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai and the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in 2010. “Oman is a beautiful country and I’ve heard really good things about the golf course from everyone who has played it. I love playing in the Middle East and I’ve got a pretty good record in the region so I can’t wait to get out there.” The Oman Open swells the number of European Tour events in the Middle East to five, joining the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and season-ending DP World Tour Championship on the Race to Dubai schedule. “It’s great news for the European Tour that there is another event in the Middle East,” said Colsaerts. “All the events we play in this part of the world are really well run and the courses are fantastic so I can’t wait to tee it up at Al Mouj Golf.”
Also set to compete over the Greg Norman-designed course are former winners of the Challenge Tour’s Road to Oman Rankings Tapio Pulkkanen, Jordan Smith and Ricardo Gouveia – the latter a winner of the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final, predecessor to the NBO Oman Open which took place at the same venue. The list of former winners will also include Clement Sordet and Bernd Ritthammer, while Indian star SSP Chawarasia, Holland’s Joost Luiten, Pablo Larrazabal of Spain and Germany’s Marcel Siem – all four-time European Tour winners – will join them in Oman.