Ras Al Khaimah will for the first time host a European Tour event after the inaugural Ras Al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital was confirmed on Monday for early next year.
The $2 million tournament will take place at Al Hamra Golf Club from February 3-6, meaning the UAE will play home to three successive events early on the 2022 calendar. The Ras Al Khaimah Championship follows back-to-back Rolex Series events in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic.
With the 2021 European Tour season concluding next month in Dubai with the Aviv Dubai Championship and the DP World Tour Championship, the UAE will stage five events on the circuit in a three-month span.
A statement released on Monday by the European Tour said the Ras Al Khaimah Championship would be the third of five consecutive events in the circuit's “ground-breaking” early season ‘Middle East Swing’. It precedes the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and another tournament in the region, which will be announced “in due course”.
In the statement, Keith Pelley, the European Tour’s chief executive, said: “For decades the Middle East has been a hugely important region for the European Tour and today’s announcement further illustrates that. We are delighted to take our Tour to a new emirate, Ras Al Khaimah, for the first time.
“Our traditional spell in the Middle East at the start of each calendar year is always very popular and these five consecutive events in early 2022 will provide fantastic playing opportunities for our entire membership.
“I would like to thank our presenting partner Phoenix Capital and their chairman Abdullah Al Naboodah for his personal vision and commitment; the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority for their support of this new tournament, as well as everyone at the Al Hamra Golf Club. All our staff who worked on our Challenge Tour events there have told us what a special venue it is, and we look forward to enjoying the unique Ras Al Khaimah hospitality next February.”
Al Hamra Golf Club previously hosted the European Challenge Tour, from 2016 to 2018, providing the setting for the 2018 Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final - the closing stop on the season-long Road to Ras Al Khaimah.
Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “We are honoured to host the inaugural Ras Al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital at the prestigious Al Hamra Golf Club and showcase our nature-based emirate to players and spectators.
“Building on our impressive credentials in staging global sporting events, this prestigious tournament is the latest addition to Ras Al Khaimah’s ever-growing golfing portfolio, further highlighting its growing popularity as a leading lifestyle and sporting destination in the Gulf region.”
Meanwhile, Abdullah Al Naboodah, chairman of investment company Phoenix Capital, said in the release: “I’m delighted to support this new European Tour event in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. Golf in the UAE and the European Tour is dear to the Al Naboodah businesses having supported the Dubai Desert Classic and Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in past years.
“Indeed, our company built the Emirates Golf Club which opened in 1988, the first grass golf course in the Middle East. This will be a great event, sitting in a run of tournaments along with Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It is a terrific showcase for global golfers to visit the UAE and the Middle East as a whole.”