Ryder Cup legend and two time Masters winner José María Olazábal alongside three-time Championship winner Martin Kaymer will both take on the world’s best professionals at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA, at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club this week, January 18-21.
Olazábal, alongside the 2015 Champion Gary Stal, America’s Bryson DeChambeau and South Korea’s Seung-Su Han have all received invitations from Championship Committee to feature in the 126-man field that will be headlined by six of the biggest names in golf – defending champion Tommy Fleetwood, World Number One, Dustin Johnson, four-time Major winner, Rory McIlroy, Olympic Gold Medallist Justin Rose, 2016 Open Champion and Olympic Silver Medallist, Henrik Stenson and Olympic Bronze Medallist Matt Kuchar.
Twenty four-year-old Bryson DeChambeau created headlines around the world when he became the fifth golfer in history to win both the NCAA Division I championship and the U.S. Amateur in the same year. DeChambeau is no stranger to playing with the pros either, earning his first professional win at the DAP Championship which in turn gave him a PGA Tour Card for the 2017 season, signalling his arrival on the global stage.
DeChambeau thrilled the Abu Dhabi crowds back in 2016 with a stunning 8-under 64 on the first day to take the lead. The American went into the weekend tied-second with Rory McIlroy before Fowler’s impressive final round performance saw him lift the famous falcon trophy:
“2018 is going to be a massive year for me and playing in Abu Dhabi is a great place to start,” said the young American. “The field is looking really strong so I’m looking forward to testing myself against some of the best players in the world right now.”
Rising star Seung-Su Han, who is currently ranked 78th in the world has had a stellar 2017 putting in a string of strong performances. After winning the Casio Open and finishing runner up at the Fujisankei Classic and JGT Championship Mori Building Cup Shishido Hills, all in Japan, Han can expect to climb further up the world rankings following a strong performance in Abu Dhabi:
Han said: “It’s going to be a fantastic experience playing for the first time here in Abu Dhabi, especially with such a strong field this year. I’m just going to focus on my game and give the best account of myself that I can; I can’t wait to get out on the course.”
Han and DeChambeau will hope to draw inspiration from newly announced players Li Haotong and Branden Grace. China’s Haotong has had a standout couple of years, winning the Volvo China Open in 2016 before almost achieving the un-thinkable and winning the Open in 2017, where he finished in a commendable third position alone, all before his 22nd birthday. South African Branden Grace on the other hand is sitting pretty in the world rankings in 30th place. In 2017, Grace won the Nedbank Golf Challenge and has shown serious form in Abu Dhabi, finishing in T13 last year’s Championship.
The 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA will run from January 18 – January 21 with Abu Dhabi Sports Council looking to top this year’s turnout of over 69,000 spectators. The 2017 tournament grew the championship’s social media following by over 65% and the HD TV coverage, with a potential reach of almost half a billion viewers, allowed a global audience to watch the world’s best vie for the coveted Falcon Trophy and a share in the US $3 million prize purse.