Andy Stubbs, Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Thani, Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal and Des Smyth during the unveiling of the trophy for the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters at the Sharjah Golf And Shooting Club on Wednesday.
Dubai - The Sharjah Senior Golf Masters will form part of the European Senior Tour Order of Merit, with a sizeable prize fund of $450,000 on offer.
The European Senior Tour makes a return to the UAE with the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters inked and rubber-stamped for March next year.
Shurooq, the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, signed an agreement with the European Senior Tour which will see the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters run from 2017 to 2019, it was announced at the Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club, on Wednesday morning.
The inaugural Masters, which will be a 54-hole event, will tee off at the Peter Harradine-designed course at the picturesque Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club on March 16, 2017. The event, which has been sanctioned by the Emirates Golf Federation and backed by the Sharjah Sports Council as well as the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, runs for three days and ends on March 18.
The Sharjah Senior Golf Masters will form part of the European Senior Tour Order of Merit, with a sizeable prize fund of $450,000 on offer.
The Sharjah Senior Golf Masters sees the European Senior Tour return to the UAE after close to two decades and will mark the fourth time the European Senior Tour has visited the Middle East following events in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.
The last time an European Senior Tour event was held in the UAE was when Abu Dhabi played host to the Abu Dhabi European Seniors Tour Championship in 2000. Bahrain had hosted the Arcapita Seniors Tour Championship back in 2005 and 2006.
"We were in Abu Dhabi in 2000 and in 2005 and 2006 in Bahrain. It has taken a long time to get here. We spoke about having it in Sharjah three years ago and after looking at the course here, it was an ambition from that moment that this could come to frutition," Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Senior Tour said at the announcement.
Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Thani, Deputy Chairman, Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club, was delighted to stage the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters. "The club started 10 years ago and since then, we have been trying to host world class events here. My team here has worked really hard and we are ready," Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Thani said.
"Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club is truly delighted to be hosting such a high profile and truly international sporting event. This initiative has been in the pipeline for three or four years now and it is thrilling to finally announce the event and for us to play such a big part in putting the Emirate of Sharjah well and truly on the global map," he added.
Meanwhile, Marwan Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO, Shurooq, said that it was a magical moment and the event will put Sharjah on the golfing map. "This will put Sharjah on the golfing map. Our vision is to promote Sharjah internationally and we believe Sharjah will get recognised even better. This is the start for us and a great moment for golf," Marwan Jassim Al Sarkal said.
Wednesday's announcement was marked with a curtain-raising Pro-Am event, the Sharjah Senior Invitational Pro-Am presented by Shurooqand supported by Emirates, BMW and the Sheraton Sharjah.
The Pro-Am featured three former Ryder Cup stars in the form of Des Smyth, Ronan Rafferty and Paul Broadhurst. The trio are all regular competitors on the European Senior Tour and each has witnessed the phenomenal boom in golf in the Middle East over the past three decades having competed in the inaugural Dubai Desert Classic back in 1989. Also in the field was Malcolm Mackenzie, who claimed the Open de France in 2002 at the venue where the 2018 Ryder Cup will take place, Le Golf National.