Desert Swing, a January of golf in the Arabian peninsula

Starting Thursday in Abu Dhabi, Italy's Manassero also competing

14 January, 12:59

    Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship 2014 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship 2014

    (ANSAmed) - NAPLES, JANUARY 14 - A round of international golf events known as 'desert swing' are about to kick off Thursday for three weeks across golf courses in the Arabian peninsula's desert. The first world golf tournaments will take place in the east, with the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship scheduled on January 16-19, followed by the Qatar Masters in Doha on January 22-25 and the Dubai Desert Classics on January 30-February 2.

    The Abu Dhabi event is the richest with prizes worth 2.7 million dollars. Henrik Stenson, who has climbed to number 3 in world rankings, is hoping to win and is returning to the Arabian peninsula as a top contender after winning last year 'Race to Dubai', the 2013 circuit of European golf which wrapped up in the other emirate of the UAE.

    He will face major competition given that the Abu Dhabi Championship will see four of the world's top ten golfers compete including ex-number one Phil Mickelson, who ranks now fifth after conquering five major tournaments, another former number one player until Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlory, and Martin Kaymer, who has already won three times in Abu Dhabi.

    Welsh player Jamie Donaldson will seek to defend the Falcon trophy conquered last year. Italy's Matteo Manassero, 21, a native of Verona, is growing as an athlete and vying to make it among the world's top golfers. The Italian has the advantage of having tried last October the new 18-hole golf course hosting the tournament, which has reached its ninth edition.

    The three-day golf event in Abu Dhabi also has a clear commercial interest as the emirate is seeking to become a top international destination for tourists also in the sport sector.

    According to data from the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO), Dubai and Abu Dhabi are growing more than any other Middle Eastern and Arabian peninsula destination: the UAE are eighth in the world in terms of growth rate of golf destinations. Anyone staying at a hotel in Abu Dhabi during the tournament will have a free ticket to watch it.


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