Ryder Cup skipper Padraig Harrington tees up at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Prize purse of $8 million for January 21-24 tournament at Abu Dhabi Golf Club

HOUSTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 08: Padraig Harrington of Ireland lines up a putt on the seventh green during the final round of the Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course on November 08, 2020 in Houston, Texas.   Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP

European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington has confirmed his participation in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, organisers announced on Monday.

The Abu Dhabi Championship runs from January 21-24 and is the first Rolex Series event of the 2021 Race to Dubai season.

The Irishman joins Major champions Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Martin Kaymer, Shane Lowry, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett in the tournament that restarts the European Points List for players targeting qualification at this year's Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

World No 10 Tyrrell Hatton and 2020 DP World Tour Championship champion Matthew Fitzpatrick are the latest international stars confirmed to tee up alongside Ryder Cup heroes Tommy Fleetwood, Ian Poulter, victorious 2018 European captain Thomas Bjorn and defending champion Lee Westwood.

“I’m excited to return to competitive golf at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship,” Harrington said.

“It’s obviously a tournament which has always been incredibly important to the European Tour, especially now forming part of the Rolex Series, so there is no better place for us to restart qualification for our European Points List as players vie to represent Team Europe at The Ryder Cup.”

Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said they are delighted to welcome what is truly an international field of stars to the award-winning Championship.

“Abu Dhabi is renowned for showcasing world-class sporting events and we are excited to witness another fantastic championship to kick off an exciting year of sport in the UAE,” he added.

Abdulfattah Sharaf, CEO of HSBC UAE, described the Abu Dhabi Championship as one of golf’s premium tournaments with an unwavering ability to attract the world’s best golfers.

“Together our ambition is to come back stronger in 2021 and this star-studded field will help to inspire the next generation to always strive to be the best,” he said.

Similar to the process for The 2018 Ryder Cup, qualification points will not be available anywhere in the world from a tournament played opposite a Rolex Series event – excluding Challenge Tour tournaments.

Fleetwood, who made his Ryder Cup debut at Le Golf National in 2018, currently leads the European Points list while Hatton, who also made his first Ryder Cup appearance in Paris, is currently the first qualifier from the World Points List.

First staged in 2006, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be hosted at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club for the 16th consecutive year with a prize fund of US$8 million.