x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

European Tour chief is monitoring unrest in Bahrain for 2012 opener

George O’Grady says a decision whether to hold The Volvo Golf Champions event, the opening event of the 2012 Race to Dubai, will not be made for several months.

George O'Grady says the European Tour will monitor the situation in Bahrain closely.
George O'Grady says the European Tour will monitor the situation in Bahrain closely.

DUBAI // George O’Grady, the chief executive of the European Tour, says he is monitoring the political situation in Bahrain, which is due to host the first tournament of the 2012 Race to Dubai.

O’Grady said a decision will not be made “for several months” on whether The Volvo Golf Champions event on the Montgomerie Course in Riffa will open the European Tour calender next year following the recent unrest.

“Bahrain is being monitored all the time,” O’Grady said. “If we are advised not to go, we would do the same as F1. I don’t think anyone fully knows. It’s just too early to say.

"It will be up to the golf federation in Bahrain and the king as our hosts. We started in Bahrain and we hope we can continue.”

O’Grady played down the long-term implications of the unrest, noting that the European Tour has navigated political challenges before.

“When the Gulf War was on, we came to Qatar when a lot of other sports wouldn’t come,” O’Grady added. We reckoned we were safe there. Some players were worried but we honour our agreements.”

The inaugural event in Bahrain, which was part of the Desert Swing consisting of tournaments also in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar, was held in late January this year.

arizvi@thenational.ae