MUSCAT: Azaan al Rumhy is the gifted Omani amateur golfer who has been leading the way for his fellow countrymen all over the Middle East since he was in his early teens and he looks set to continue as one of the leading lights for Oman golf when the third edition of the Oman Open gets underway at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat this Thursday (February 27).
The 36-year-old has been an ever present in the field since the inaugural European Challenge Tour event back in 2013 and after taking part in the first two editions of the fully fledged European Tour event, he’s thrilled to be back among some of the best players in the world.
“I’m honoured to be playing in the third running of the European Tour’s Oman Open this week,” says Al Rumhy. “The first edition of the Challenge Tour event showed just how valuable it was to host a professional golf tournament in the Sultanate. I really hoped it would be successful from the start so that in the near future we would be able to host a fully-fledged European Tour event in Oman’’.
“The dream finally came true two years ago when I took part in the first European Tour event at the 2018 Oman Open as a player. It was a lifetime opportunity, and something I will never forget, especially having my father caddie for me’’.
Al Rumhy’s European Tour debut at Al Mouj in 2018 was not only life-changing on a personal level, it was also an historic moment for the Sultanate because he became the first ever Omani to play a European Tour event. “Before 2018 I’d played on the MENA Tour, the Asian Tour and the European Challenge Tour — but never on the European Tour,” he admits. “Thankfully, I’m playing again in this week’s 2020 Oman Open’’.
When Al Rumhy first took up the sport, golf was very much a minority sport, but, the work of tournament promoters the Oman Golf Association and the media exposure generated by the Oman Open, is helping to introduce a new generation of Omanis to golf. “The Oman Golf Association has worked hard to encourage the growth of golf in the Sultanate, particularly the juniors and the Omani ladies,” says Al Rumhy. “I first joined the Oman National Team in 2002 and I have witnessed more and more new golfers practising and playing on our golf courses’’.
Al Rumhy and Bader al Amri are the two leading players representing Oman on the international stage and their highlight last year was competing in the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship at Sheshan GC in Shanghai, China, in September. Along with other squad members Mohammed al Busaidi, Ahmed al Balushi and Yusuf al Balushi, global esposure is helping them to take new step in their golf development.
“Last year, as a team, the two main events we took part in were the GCC Championship (which we hosted in December and finished 5th) as well as the Pan Arab Golf Championship which took place in Marakech in Morroco in Early December,” he says.
“Some of the team members did play in other regional Pro/Amateur Opens, such as the King Hamed Trophy in Bahrain, in addition to the Qatar Open (played just a few weeks before the Qatar Masters in Doha).
“We are hoping to take part in the Eisenhower Cup in Singapore as well as the Asia Pacific Amateur Event in Royal Melbourne during 2020’’.
Al Rumhy is set for another unforgettable experience at this week’s Oman Open as he takes his place in a world-class field spearheaded by two-time Major champion and former World Number One Martin Kaymer. The chance to compete alongside such elite company doesn’t come along too often and you can be sure it will be another occasion that he’ll never forget.