MUSCAT: Al Mouj Golf course will witness exciting action with a world-class field of 132 players teeing off in the International Series Oman in Muscat on Thursday.
Four-time Major winner Brooks Koepka said he is ready for the challenge in Oman.
“That stretch of holes by the water is amazing and I’m looking forward to seeing the challenge the course has to offer on Thursday when the tournament starts.”
The start of the International Series Oman was marked with a ceremonial tee shot at the Greg Norman designed Championship golf course, welcoming local dignitaries to celebrate its Middle Eastern debut and first of 10 International Series events on the Asian Tour in 2023.
Hosted at Al Mouj Golf and led by Asian Tour CEO Cho Minn Thant and Chairman of Oman Golf Association (OGA) Mundhir al Barwani, the tee off took place on the first hole of the oceanfront course, as a number of local VIP’s gathered to witness the Asian Tour breaking ground in the Middle East for the first time. Chief guest Lujaina Mohsin Darwish, Chairperson of Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC, and a member of the Board of Directors at Oman Olympic Committee were present on the occasion.
Ahead of the elevated series taking place in the Sultanate for the first time, Al Mouj Golf CEO Nasser Al Sheibani welcomed this event, saying: “We are proud to host the season-opener event of The International Series 2023 on the Asian Tour, here at the championship course of Al Mouj Golf. It’s fantastic to welcome so many local dignitaries alongside the world-class field that’s been assembled.
“The International Series promises to promote the country across continents, elevating the competitive experience for players on the Asian Tour and it once again highlights Oman as a unique venue on the world golf stage.”
OGA chief Mundhir al Barwani said it is a great occasion for Oman golf to host the elite players of the game.
“We are proud to host such world class players for the Asian Tour’s International Series. We hope to continue the association with the Asian Tour in the coming years as well.”
“Some of the players like Sergio Garcia also run a golf academy and the OGA is looking to get connected to such projects in our effort to bring Oman golf forward,” Al Barwani told Oman Observer.
The impressive 132-player field includes golfers from 23 countries across 6 continents, headlined by Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Joaquin Niemann and Charl Schwartzel, all competing on the oceanfront course for their share in a total prize money of $2 million.
BALE JOINING GOLF EXCITING FOR GAME
Spaniard Garcia said Welsh footballer Gareth Bale taking up an active golf career will strengthen the profile of the game.
“Bale is my good friend. He is a good golf player, so no wonder he took up an active career in golf.”
“Joining of such top players in other sports will definitely boost the credentials of the game, making it more popular.”
“Super stars like Gareth Bale, Michael Jordan or Steven Curry taking up golf is great for the game and we are super excited for the sport,” Garcia added.
Local golfer Azzan al Rumhy said it is a great honour for him to compete among the best in the game.
"Hosting the International Series by Asian Tour is a huge moment for Oman. Playing along with such master talents will definitely bring out the best in me. The tournament is a great exposure and experience for players like me," Azzan said.
Graeme McDowell commented on playing in Oman for the first time and said: “I’ve played a lot of golf in the Middle East for the last 20 years and it’s always amazing to come to new places. I like what I see so far, it’s a beautiful country with great facilities and a great golf course. I’m really looking forward to competing this weekend.”