DUBAI // The al Musharrekh brothers, an Emirati trio that represents the senior UAE national team, feel turning professional is the best way to gain entry to the 'Gulf Swing', the four European PGA Tour events which take place in the region apart from the Dubai World Championship. At present, only Ahmed al Musharrekh, 19, has played in a professional tournament when he lined up in the field of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship earlier this year - and that was only thanks to a invite from a sponsor.
With the GCC yet to produce a homegrown professional, the brothers believe earning their Asian Tour pro cards will vastly increase their chances of securing a place in the tournaments in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar. "If I get offered another invite, then of course I will take it. You have to take those chances," said Ahmed. "Turning pro will help us get invites to regional tournaments and there is also the Egyptian Open, a Challenge Tour event that I played last year. [Rory] McIlroy is playing this year and I know Chris Vallender [the UAE national team coach] is trying to arrange something."
Having narrowly failed to earn his Asian card at January's qualifying school, Ahmed revealed he is preparing to have another shot next year. "Q School is the safe way to turn pro because you get invites, you are effectively guaranteed slots in tournaments," he said. "If I had made the cut in Q School, I would have had slots in 12 pro tournaments. I'm definitely thinking about going back before the Gulf Swing."
Failure to qualify for the second year running would represent a considerable setback, but the confident teenager has faith in his abilities. "I don't look at Plan B, doing that just messes up Plan A. You just have to stick on one route and see what happens." Abdullah al Musharrekh, 22, also has aspirations of turning professional. "If one of us does become pro, then we'll be the first UAE pro," said Abdullah. "I'm sure that would help us get invitations. It will only bring opportunities. There are no GCC professionals, everyone is an amateur, so you never know, people in Qatar and Bahrain might hand a spot to the region's first full-time pros."
Seventeen-year-old Hassan has more time on his side. "My plan is to go to college in the States, like Ahmed did, and play there for my last year of high school," said Hassan. "From there, hopefully I will be able to turn pro." Whether the trio turn professional this year, or next, their father, Mohammed al Musharrekh, a member at the UAE Golf Federation, believes his sons have bright futures. "My sons are good examples for the young kids."