Abu Dhabi Sports Council also announces date change to Gary Player Invitational tournament at Saadiyat
FBM Ladies Open to kick off 2019 Ladies European Tour season
The Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open will open the 2019 Ladies European Tour, headlining a number of revisions to Abu Dhabi’s golf portfolio.
The three-day event, set to be staged for the third time in the emirate, moves from its previous November slot to the beginning of the year, with the tournament taking place in the capital from January 10-12. It therefore marks the start to the Ladies European Tour (LET) and the Abu Dhabi golfing season.
In other changes announced by Abu Dhabi Sports Council on Tuesday, the Gary Player Invitational pro-celebrity tournament will follow on January 13, with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA to run the following week.
As had previously been confirmed, the European Tour event will take place Wednesday to Saturday (January 16-19) to support scheduling with the 2019 Asian Cup, the continent’s premier football event, staged in the UAE for only the second time.
Both the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open (FBM Ladies Open) and the Gary Player Invitational remain at Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Beach Golf Club. The FBM Ladies Open, inaugurated in 2016, will be the first Tour-sanctioned, entirely pro-am tournament format to be held in the Emirates and will comprise 56 professional golfers playing alongside 56 amateurs to form team pairings.
“The game of golf continues to evolve globally and given Abu Dhabi’s heritage of innovation in sport, we are continuously seeking ways to encourage and engage both sport fans and participants while at the same time, ensure the longevity of our events,” said Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council. “The new date and format mean that the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open will now offer an unparalleled experience for amateur golfers and a novel new tournament for the professionals.
“The event will also be a spectacular celebration of golf, with the Gary Player Invitational and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA scheduled in close proximity. Aside from the operational efficiencies there are many cross promotional opportunities that will appeal to more fans of the game than ever before.”
Mark Lichtenhein, LET chairman, added: “We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council into this new era. The new date and format will undoubtedly help shine a strong spotlight onto women’s golf in the Emirate and bring a different sponsor and spectator experience to the LET tournament.”
India’s Aditi Ashok, who last year won the FBM Ladies Open, said: “It’s great to see Abu Dhabi Sports Council bring women’s golf tournament to the region. The overall welcoming nature of Abu Dhabi and the hospitality has been great. The Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open is definitely one of the favourite stops during the year as we players enjoy coming to Abu Dhabi. It has been a pleasure to compete at the scenic Gary Player-designed Saadiyat Beach Golf Club the past couple years and I am sure the 2019 edition will be an exciting new event.”