The sixteenth edition of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, organized by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, and hosted by the Abu Dhabi Golf Club tees off on Thursday.
The four-day event with an elite field of 132 is the first of the four Rolex events of the European Tour
Challenging for a slice of the US$8milion prize fund are the defending champion Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Martin Kaymer, Shane Lowry, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett.
Joining them are the European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington, DP World Tour champion Matt Fitzpatrick, World No.9 Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Ian Poulter and Thomas Bjorn.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan: We are proud of the global status the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship enjoy.
His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, welcomed the delegates of the European Tour and elite field competing in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
His Highness was all praise for the efforts of the government agencies in implementing the highest safety and precautionary protocols in place for the championship to take place in a secure environment.
“To have this championship for 16 years and enhance the status of it in itself is an accomplishment we can be very proud of,” Sheikh Nahyan said.
“Obviously the championship is well established as one of the leading golfing event on earth and it will continue to grow.
“It draws the cream of the golfers from around the world and also draws the attention of the world media to promote Abu Dhabi as a leading destination for sports tourism.”
World stars celebrate the Golden Jubilee National Day of the UAE
Major winners Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and 2020 Champion Lee Westwood posed with the prestigious Falcon Trophy ahead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
The star-studded line-up which included previous winners Shane Lowry, and Tommy Fleetwood, as well as World No.9 Tyrrell Hatton who will all battle it out at Abu Dhabi Golf Club to lift one of the most sought-after trophies on the European Tour.
The trio were also presented with a specially commissioned golf-themed cake to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the union of the UAE that is being celebrated throughout 2021.
Facts about the Winged Falcon Cup for Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship 2021
The Falcon Trophy is made with hallmarked sterling silver and designed by Edward Asprey, Chairman of the iconic British luxury brand, Asprey of London and stands at approximately 29 inches (70 centimetres) tall.
It features a silver falcon perched on a gold golf ball which sits on a plinth boasting the names of former champions who have come and conquered the desert.
At the end of the tournament, the Champion receives a replica of the trophy and if a player wins it three times, as German Major winner and Ryder Cup star Martin Kaymer did in 2008, 2010 and 2011, they keep the trophy and a new one is made.
It has been said that the regal falcon bestows power upon the person who holds it and two recent formers Champions, Westwood and Lowry, can testify to that, both having had terrific season following their victories in Abu Dhabi in 2020 and 2019 respectively.
Lowry fulfilled a dream to winning his maiden Major, The 2019 Open Championship at Portrush, and Westwood went on to win the Race to Dubai and was named Europe’s No.1 golfer for 2020.