The Gary Player Invitational, the world’s leading charity golf series has confirmed its return to Abu Dhabi with a “field of champions” set to participate in the upcoming event on 29 January 2018.
Taking place at the award-winning Saadiyat Golf Beach Club, a Gary Player-designed course for the third consecutive year, this year’s union of golf and giving will see more than 72 golf champions, celebrities and business leaders join tournament host, sporting icon and Grand Slam Champion, Gary Player in raising funds for The Player Foundation which has selected local event beneficiary, the Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs as its charity of choice.
Representing the new face of competitive golf, this year’s field will see an overwhelming number of European Tour champions, as well as the next generation of golfing stars compete alongside golfing legend Gary Player.
Among the players confirmed are 2018 European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn; as well as Ryder Cup stars and current champions, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Matt Fitzpatrick. Additional champions confirmed off the back of a winning 2017 season include British Masters champion Paul Dunne; D+D Real Czech Masters champion, Haydn Porteous; Made in Denmark winner, Julian Suri; 2016 South African Open winner, Brandon Stone; Portugal Masters winner Lucas Bjerregaard and Jordan Smith, winner of the Porsche European Open. Ladies European Tour professionals confirmed include Olivia Cowan, Carly Booth, Emma Cabrera Bello and Henni Goya. Joining the pros will also be the UAE’s - and one of the world’s - top amateur golfers 18-year-old Rayhan Thomas. Additional star-power will come in the form of international singers and keen golf enthusiasts and supporters Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy.
“We are thrilled to be coming back to Abu Dhabi and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club to kick off 2018 with what will be a field of some of the super new golfing talent in the world,” said Grand Slam champion and tournament host Gary Player. “As illustrated by our field of champions, including the UAE’s very own Rayhan Thomas, the game continues to evolve and strengthen in the UAE which is truly fantastic to see. This, combined with raising money for those in need will make for a fantastic event for all.”
Held in conjunction with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, under the Patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the 2018 Gary Player Invitational at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is the only Middle Eastern stop in the global series, and the first event of the year. The series has helped The Player Foundation raise more than $64 million for charities worldwide, and the Gary Player Invitational plays a key role in helping The Player Foundation work towards its goal of raising $100 million by 2025.
“Year-on-year Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a world-class sporting destination continues to grow, thanks in large part to events such as the Gary Player Invitational”, said His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council. “Bringing together the world’s top sporting talent, celebrities and local businesspeople, and highlighting the very best of sportsmanship and philanthropy, the Gary Player Invitational is ideally placed as one of Abu Dhabi’s first sporting events of the year, especially following last year’s Year of Giving.”
“Now in its third consecutive year and held at one of world’s most appealing courses, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, the event in Abu Dhabi has firmly cemented its position on our global tour of golf and giving,” added Gary Player. “Thanks to the generosity of the Abu Dhabi community and the support of organizations like the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the Gary Player Invitational in Abu Dhabi brings us closer to achieving our goal of raising $100 million for children by 2025. While the event itself is both engaging and entertaining, it is made all the more worthwhile knowing that funds raised will stay in Abu Dhabi and support the Zayed Higher Organization in all the great work that they do for the community.”
Along with the action on the green, the event will include a gala dinner on the five-star Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi. Members of the public are welcome to visit Saadiyat Beach Golf Club on tournament day to see Gary Player, the professionals and stars in action.
Along with Abu Dhabi Sports Council, other supporters of the Gary Player Invitational include Etihad Airways, TDIC, the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi, SAP and Rolex. Seeing the value in this important event, new sponsors confirmed for 2018 include Abu Dhabi Ports and Al Masaood Automobiles.