Rory is an exceptional role model for young enthusiasts: Dr Munjal

The Hero Dubai Desert Classic perfectly embodies everything that defines Dubai, says the Executive Chairman of Hero MotoCorp


Leslie Wilson Jr

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Dr. Pawan Munjal with Rory McIlroy
Dr. Pawan Munjal with Rory McIlroy

Published: Sun 21 Jan 2024, 10:11 PM

As a passionate golf fan, and ‘modest’ player, Dr. Pawan Munjal has always aspired to use his in-person, virtual and unalloyed love for the game to make a lasting impact on the sport’s community.

And he hopes to achieve this with the help of his collaborative partners, like the DP World Tour, in what he describes as a long-term journey.

As the Executive Chairman of Hero MotoCorp, Dr Munjal brings a different dimension to the business of sponsorship.

He is not just an entrepreneur but a friend to many of the world’s leading golfers, like World No. 2 Rory McIlroy, who have tremendous respect for his investment in the sport that gives them a reason to dream.

Earlier this week Dr Munjal played alongside McIlroy at the pre-event Pro-Am, and described the experience as ‘delightful.’

“Rory stands out as an exceptional role model for young enthusiasts, a true icon in the sport,” he told Khaleej Times during an exclusive interview.

“His remarkable Monday finish during the 2023 edition has etched itself into the record books.

Having shared the course with him in the past and spending time together is always a delightful experience.

“The Pro-Am featured a star-studded player line-up, underscoring the Hero Dubai Desert Classic's reputation for hosting one of the most sought-after Pro-Ams in the region. I'm confident that all the players enjoyed their time under the sun,” added Dr Munjal.

“Witnessing the passion for the sport, especially from numerous youngsters, during the Pro-Am is always exhilarating. It's clear that the sport's following continues to burgeon, a trend further fuelled by the presence of ambassadors like Rory.”

The Northern Irishman also commented on his playing partner and described him as an ‘exception’ promoter of the sport.

McIlroy has often spoken about his desire to see the game grow globally and has shown his support for taking professional golf to India through an elite tournament following the PGA Tour/PIF merger.

The PGA Tour and DP World Tour are hoping to finalise an agreement with the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund sooner than later in a bid to foster a global mindset.

Munjal himself is a big supporter of aiding the game's growth across the globe.

“Our deep involvement in golf has garnered recognition and appreciation worldwide,” he said.

“Commencing in 1995, we continue to invest in bringing innovation to the game on a global scale through our partnerships with esteemed entities like the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, the Ladies European Tour (LET), and the Asian Tour in the past.

“Watching the sport grow in India and globally has been exceptionally gratifying for me,” he added. “Witnessing individuals who were once young aspirants now competing and excelling on the global stage is truly fulfilling.”

Munjal’s ability to embrace the bigger picture led to a historic achievement at the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia last week where Hero MotoSports Team Rally, secured a remarkable second-place finish behind the behind Ricky Brabec.

“Beyond golf, our sports affiliations have consistently brought pride to our company, our country and the industry,” he said. “A decade ago, it seemed improbable that an Indian manufacturer team would grace the Dakar podium.

“In addition to the inherent satisfaction, our involvement in sports has proven to be advantageous. The extensive recognition garnered through our golf associations has been particularly noteworthy in Europe, the UK, and the USA.”

However, Dr. Munjal has reiterated his support, and primary focus, as a key partner to the Dubai Desert Classic.

“Dubai stands out as a dynamic and lively city, boasting a diverse global diaspora,” he said.

“Being here is always a pleasure, and now, with this tournament, I have an additional reason to visit. The Hero Dubai Desert Classic perfectly embodies everything that defines Dubai – charming and enthusiastic audiences, a vibrant atmosphere, and top-notch facilities.

“It's no surprise that the event consistently attracts elite players and fans from around the world year after year,” added Dr. Munjal

“As an iconic tournament with a rich legacy, it serves as the ideal kick-off for the calendar year, featuring a full-field competition.

“Our association with this tournament takes on unique significance, aligning with the 35th edition of the event and coinciding with the 40th anniversary of Hero MotoCorp. That’s why we share a special bond with this tournament,” he concluded.

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