Amateur golfers up and down the UAE are gearing up for the return of the 2019 DP World Tour Championship ‘Luckiest Ball on Earth’ competition which gets underway in September. The innovative series gives local players the chance of a ‘once in a lifetime’ golfing experience alongside the stars of the European Tour at the Race to Dubai’s season-ending tournament, which now boasts the richest tournament prize in world golf.
A total of 23 qualifying events will be held at 21 golf clubs across the region with Emirates Golf Club and Abu Dhabi City Golf Club hosting individual qualifiers for men and women. Running alongside the Luckiest Ball on Earth competition will be the Junior Luckiest Ball on Earth Presented by Zurich, which will once again open the door for the next generation of golfers after the series’ hugely successful debut last year. The victorious qualifiers will secure their spot in the Luckiest Ball on Earth Grand Final, which is set to take place on the Fire course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on October 21 while the Junior Luckiest Ball on Earth Presented by Zurich Grand Final will be held at the same venue on September 28.
Walter Jopp, CEO – Zurich Middle East, commented “We are excited to present the Junior Luckiest Ball on Earth, a fantastic platform to help young, aspiring golfers take their game to the next level. At Zurich, we are passionate about nurturing young talent and encouraging a healthy lifestyle to be Ready For Life. Golf is a key lever that has helped us increase exposure around this intent and we look forward to our second year of being an official sponsor of the DP World Tour Championship. We wish the very best to the players and look forward to an exciting competition.”
The leading female and male player at the Grand Final will join the ‘Luckiest Ball on Earth’ team alongside the Junior Luckiest Ball on Earth Presented by Zurich winner, where they will tee it up with the likes of 2018 Race to Dubai winner Francesco Molinari, DP World Tour Championship winner Danny Willett and former World No.1 and three-time Race to Dubai champion Rory McIlroy in the DP World Tour Championship’s Pro-Am on the Earth course on Tuesday November 19.
“We are delighted to be announcing the return of The Luckiest Ball on Earth initiative which gives men, women and juniors across the UAE a fantastic opportunity to rub shoulders with some of their heroes at the DP World Tour Championship,” said Tom Phillips, the European Tour’s Head of Middle East.
“This will be the ninth edition of the Luckiest Ball on Earth series and it wouldn’t be the success it is today without the fantastic support we receive from the Emirates Golf Federation and the 21 clubs involved.”
This year’s DP World Tour Championship, a Rolex Series event, will feature one of the most exclusive fields in world golf with only the top 50 players on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai taking part at Jumeriah Golf Estates. It will also be the first year the tournament gives away the richest prize in tournament golf, with the winner pocketing a cheque for US$3 million, an increase of 125% from the US$1.33 million won by Englishman Danny Willett at last year’s tournament.
The US$5million Race to Dubai Bonus Pool, which will now be divided amongst the top five players in the Race to Dubai instead of the top ten, will see the 2019 winner claiming US$2 million, up from the US$1.25 million claimed by Italian Francesco Molinari last year. The changes mean the tantalizing prospect of one player potentially walking away from Jumeirah Golf Estates US$5 million richer if they win both the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai.
The Luckiest Ball on Earth competition has proven a smash hit with the UAE’s amateur golfers since the initiative was first launched in 2011. The annual competition has traditionally been open to all golfers aged 18 or over who hold an Official Club Handicap recognised by the EGF (maximum 28 for men and 36 for ladies) while Juniors are now invited to get in on the action too with their very own series.
Arabian Ranches Golf Club member Kevin Barrett of Northern Ireland won the inaugural Luckiest Ball on Earth competition and played alongside Italy’s Ryder Cup icon Edoardo Molinari in the Pro-Am before Italy’s Ornella Parigi of Saadiyat Beach Golf Club became the first female winner in 2012 and lined up with Australia’s Marcus Fraser.
In 2013, former Dubai Creek Lady Captain Maureen Platt earned a place alongside Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen in the Pro-Am while in 2014 Dipesh Makwana came out on top against almost 1,000 hopefuls to be teamed up with Race to Dubai runner-up Danny Willett. In 2015, Jairaj Gorsia from Meydan Golf was victorious and was given an unforgettable experience in the Pro-Am playing with England’s James Morrison. In 2016 another Saadiyat Beach Golf Club member took home the spoils with Blanca Rivollier, playing with Bradley Dredge. In 2017, Ghazi Aurangzeb’s last minute decision to enter the competition paid off after he came through the qualifier and won the Grand Final to tee off with France’s Mike Lorenzo-Vera at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Kwang Jae Lee, Shiba Wahid Khan and 12 year old Fatima Rizvi took home the spoils last year and joined Ross Fisher in winning the DP World Tour Championship Pro-Am with Luckiest Ball on Earth men’s runner up Warren Todd replacing Lee who was unable to attend.
Golf Club Date
Abu Dhabi City Golf Club – Friday 20 Sept (Men) – Wednesday 25 Sept (Ladies)
Abu Dhabi Golf Club – Sat 28 Sept
Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club – Fri 20 Sept
Al Dhafra Golf Club – Fri 13 Sept
Al Ghazal Golf Club – Fri 11 Oct
Al Hamra Golf Club – Fri 4 Oct
Al Zorah Golf Club – Sat 12th Oct
Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club – Sat 27 Sept
Dubai Hills – Fri 6 Sept
Emirates Golf Club – Fri 27 Sept (Men) – Mon 14 Oct (Ladies)
Jebel Ali Golf Resort – Sat 21 Sep
Jumeirah Golf Estates – Sat 14 Sept
Saadiyat Beach Golf Club – Sat 21 Sept
Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club – Fri 13 Sept
Sharjah Wanderers Golf Club – Fri 11 Oct
The Address Montgomerie – Sat 12 Oct
The Els Club – Sat 14 Sept
The Track – Meydan Golf – Fri 27 Sept
Tower Links Golf Club – Fri 20 Sept
Trump International Golf Club – Fri 11 Oct
Yas Links – Sat 4 Oct