06 Jun 2023

Tom Phillips: Award wins are fantastic validation of the work we put into our UAE-based tournaments

The prestigious Sport Industry Awards took place a few weeks ago at Atlantis, The Palm and the DP World Tour was one of the big winners on the night. We collected three awards, including Best Sports Event Organiser of the year, which is fantastic validation of the work we put into turn our six UAE-based tournaments during 2022 into true entertainment spectacles that cater for a wide audience and not just the golf aficionado.

A great example of this are our themed days that have been rolled out across multiple tournaments. We have a Community Day on a Thursday, Ladies Day on Saturday, and Family Day on Sunday, all of which have specific activities aimed at these audiences. From world class golfers, to golf clinics for beginners and music acts, there really is something for everyone. A total of 204,000 spectators attended a DP World Tour event in the Middle East in 2022, and we expect that figure to keep growing this year.

Together with Abu Dhabi Sports Council, we also collected the Gold Award for Best Sponsorship Collaboration with HSBC at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and the Bronze Award in the same category for our partnership with DP World. It cannot be stressed enough how important commercial partnerships are for growing the game of golf at all levels. Partners such as DP World and HSBC not only provide the funds to help stage these major events, but also have the creativity to build marketing campaigns that add value to the fan experience.

For example, we have seen DP World collect and redistribute golf balls around the world to give them a second life in grassroots golf, HSBC customers getting unique access when at their tournament, and Hilton customers being able to book a hotel room on the actual 15th green during the DP World Tour Championship. Together, we are providing a global platform for these businesses to market their services effectively, and in turn they help us build a truly global Tour that takes this great game into new territories. It’s a virtuous circle for both parties and also benefits the UAE at large, by showcasing its credentials as a business and tourism hub.

But whilst organising set piece DP World Tour events will always be a cornerstone of what we do in the Middle East, we can never forget that to grow the game locally we must also provide top class playing opportunities for emerging talent.

That mission, to help grow the game locally, is central to our long-term strategic alliance with the Emirates Golf Federation, and that is why we have doubled down on staging more Challenge Tour events in the UAE in 2023, with the Abu Dhabi Challenge and UAE Challenge taking place in recent weeks. It’s the main pathway to the DP World Tour and some of the game’s greats have honed their skills there. A total of 30 invites for each event went to our partners at the EGF, who can provide competitive playing opportunities for their rising stars. The EGF can also trade some of these spots with other national federations, which allows UAE players to compete in other Challenge Tour events further afield.

Both Challenge Tour events in Abu Dhabi proved highly successful, with Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia taking home the title at the Abu Dhabi Challenge, and Maximilian Rottluff of Germany finishing on top at the UAE Challenge. A total of 11 UAE players competed in both tournaments, both amateur and professional, and hopefully these events proved an important step in their career development.

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