DUBAI // A new golf tour in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) was launched on Wednesday at the Dubai Desert Classic, with four tournaments planned in the region this year.
The Mena Tour will carry a minimum purse of US$75,000 (Dh275,000) at each event. It will be open to professional players who are a notch below the European Challenge Tour and will also provide a platform for amateur players to experience golf at a higher standard.
Further discussions among organising groups are scheduled for Saturday to finalise the inaugural fixture list.
The new tour is the brainchild of Mohamed Juma Buamaim, the chief executive of Golf in Dubai who host the Desert Classic. His organisation have worked closely with the Sheikh Maktoum Golf Foundation and the Arab Golf Federation to bring plans to fruition.
George O’Grady, the chief executive of the European Tour described the Mena Tour as a useful stepping stone for players to progress to a second tier and then on to the main tour.
Each of the four events will feature 109 players, a mix of professionals and amateurs. The top three professionals and leading amateur after the completion of the fixtures will earn entry into next year’s Desert Classic.
Buamaim said the new tour would bridge the gulf in class that faces promising amateurs.
“When these kids go into professional tournaments like the Desert Classic they get the shock of their lives and tend to shoot big scores,” he said. “Now we are providing them with another level to gain experience before stepping up even higher.
Thomas Bjorn, chairman of the European Tour’s players’ committee, said: “Somebody had to take this step and it’s only natural that Golf in Dubai has done this to create an opportunity for locals and players of other nationalities to take their golf to new levels.”