Emirates Amateur Golf League (EAGL), a first-of-its-kind franchise-owned amateur league tournament in the world, has been launched in the UAE.
Conceptualised by Sudesh Aggarwal, a prominent Dubai-based businessman who is a passionate golfer himself, the EAGL will feature eight teams in a round-robin team format, followed by semifinals and finals.
The fixtures for the rounds are yet to be announced, but the inaugural edition will be played later this year from November 2021 to January 2022 in four-five iconic courses of the UAE, starting with the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.
The EAGL was launched on January 20 in the presence of Chief Guest, Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of Emirates Golf Federation (EGF), and Guest of Honor, Taimur Hassan, Chairman of Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC).
The tournament has been sanctioned by the EGF and enjoys the support of APGC, the federation representing 42 national golf bodies in the Asia and Pacific regions.
Over the next few months, corporates and individuals will be invited to buy teams.
Nine teams are up for grabs – Abu Dhabi Roars, Asian Jumbos, Dubai Tigers, Emirates Players, English Nicks, European Seves, Indian Singhs, Korean Chois and Pakistani Taimurs. The first eight teams purchased will play the inaugural EAGL.
Each team will comprise a squad of 24 players and two professional golfers as coaches. Each round will be contested by 12 chosen players from each team and played in various match play formats.
The League is open only to players who have index handicap of 14 or better. They will have to register with the EAGL Players Pool to be considered by a franchise.
“The Emirates Amateur Golf League is the most exciting thing to happen to amateur golf, which is the largest segment of the sport. We all know the excitement generated by team golf competitions like the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup, and the drama that a sporting league like the English Premier League in football or the Indian Premier League in cricket can create,” said Aggarwal.
“The EAGL combines the best of all these mega sporting events. We aim to provide an unforgettable experience for the players and sponsors through professional organisation and creating value propositions which will make this a win-win situation for all our stakeholders.”
Emirates Golf Federation chairman Shaikh Fahim said he believed the EAGL had the potential to grow the game significantly in the country.
“We have so many amazing tournaments for the professionals in the UAE, but we rarely get something which gets the amateur players excited. The EAGL can become a tournament our amateurs will aspire to become a part of, and hence work harder to get better,” Shaikh Fahim added.
APGC’s Hassan, one of the most well-known professional golfers from Pakistan, remarked: “It’s really heart-warming to see tournaments like Emirates Amateur Golf League being conceptualised. At the APGC, increasing the popularity of golf and improving the quality of amateur golf is at the heart of everything we do. We are delighted to support the EAGL.”
Live broadcast of the rounds will be one of the striking features of the League and Priyaa Kumria, the EAGL Administrator, added: “The League will feature a total of nine rounds played over two months and involving 312 matches before the champion team is identified. Another first for the League would be the 40 hours of live broadcast that is planned during the inaugural season. EAGL will give amateur golfers an experience of playing like professionals in golf course set up like professional tournaments.”
Commenting on sponsorship opportunities, Aggarwal added: “For the benefits that we have lined up for those associating with the EAGL, this would be a very cost-effective proposition. Corporate days in golf are considered one of the most effective sponsorships in sport and we are providing an opportunity to leverage a season-long event through hospitality, branding, networking and PR exercises.”
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