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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

World No 2 Brooks Koepka adds more stardust to January's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA

US Open and US PGA Championship champion joins like of Dustin Johnson and two-time defending champion at the National Course on January 16-19

World No 2 Brooks Koepka joins a stellar line-up at the 2019 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA. AFP
World No 2 Brooks Koepka joins a stellar line-up at the 2019 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA. AFP

World No 2 Brooks Koepka, winner of two majors this year, has signed up for January’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA.

The American, 28, will join good friend Dustin Johnson at the January 16-19 event, meaning the tournament will boast two of the three top-ranked players in the game at the moment. Koepka, who held top spot last week but was replaced on Monday by Justin Rose, cut his professional teeth on the European Tour, but has not played in Abu Dhabi since missing the cut on debut in 2014.

The three-time major winner has enjoyed an incredible 2018, clinching both the US Open and the US PGA Championship to add to the US Open he won last year. His double major haul this season helped carry Koepka for the first time to the world No 1 spot. Last month, he was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year before going on to seal another victory, at the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges in South Korea.

“I’m very excited to be taking part in this tournament again after such a long time away," Koepka said. "I’ve been determined to include it in my schedule as I keep hearing from DJ, Rickie [Fowler], Jordan [Spieth] and all the American guys what a great time they’ve had in Abu Dhabi.

“I actually remember my last visit really well as it is undoubtedly one of the biggest and best events on the European Tour’s schedule. It always gathers an unbelievable field and the whole set up of the event is amazing along with the perfect weather conditions. I wasn’t surprised at all to hear it had been awarded Rolex Series status and I can’t wait to return to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA in January.

“Last time I played in 2014, I was ranked 93rd in the world, so a lot has happened since that time. I’m looking forward to returning and hopefully adding my name to the impressive list of champions.”

At Abu Dhabi, Koepka will join US Ryder Cup teammate Johnson, who returns to the capital for the third successive year. The 2016 US Open champion, ranked third in the global standings, finished runner-up on debut and then tied-9th earlier this year.

However, Tommy Fleetwood remains the man to beat around the National Course: the Englishman, the world No 9, has won the past two Falcon Trophies and has already confirmed his bid for a third consecutive success.

The Abu Dhabi event, launched in 2006, will for the first time form part of the Rolex Series, which comprises eight elite-level tournaments on the European Tour. As such, it boasts an increased prize fund of $7 million (Dh25.7m).

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