2008-10-30

DUBAI – Ernie Els will bolster what is sure to be a stellar cast at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in the Moroccan capital of Rabat when the big South African competes in the forthcoming Hassan II Golf Trophy by Emaar , 5 – 9 November this year.

With 63 career victories to his name, including two US Opens, an Open Championship and a record seven World Matchplay titles, the South African ‘swing king’ is truly a global player, but it will be the first time the big South African will be making his appearance in Morocco – and that makes this year’s 36th edition of the tournament special.

Jointly promoted and organized by the Hassan II Golf Trophy Society and ‘golf in DUBAI, the event, starting from November 5 to 9, will provide leading Moroccan golfers an opportunity to rub should with the some of the big names in professional golf in what is regarded as the world’s greatest pro-am.

“His presence will certainly add status and star value to the Hassan II Golf Trophy and, I am sure, the fans in Morocco will enjoy watching his universally-admired golf swing,” commented Mohamed Chaibi, Executive Director of the Hassan II Golf Trophy by Emaar.

“I wish Ernie and all other players in the field the very best and I hope their exploits on the course will inspire the young Arab talent to take to golf which has the potential to become a national passion there.”

Since its inauguration in 1971, the Hassan II Trophy has attracted some of the finest players in the game and if you look at the past winners of the tournament, it virtually reads like a Who's Who of Golf: Orville Moody, Billy Casper, Lee Trevino, Payne Stewart, Nick Price, Vijay Singh, Colin Montgomerie and Scotland's Sam Torrance. And the list will continue to grow in profile in years to come.

As the highest-ranked player in the field, Els is firm favourite to take home the honours. “My game is now heading towards where I want it to be,” said the 36-year-old South African, who recently hired the services of Tiger Woods' former mentor Butch Harmon to “get a different feel.”

“I’m very motivated to finish this season strongly. I’ve got at least another half-dozen tournaments before this calendar year is out – a lot to play for, in other words. I have to stay focused, keep pushing and continue to try to play my best golf,” he added.

“Ernie is one of golf’s truly global players. Not only is he one of the most prolific winners of his generation, but the global reach of his victories is almost without parallel,” commented Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice-chairman and CEO of ‘golf in DUBAI.’

“We at golf in DUBAI enjoy a special relationship with Ernie. Besides being a regular to our Dubai Desert Classic tournament, he is our global brand ambassador. His participation in the Hassan II Golf Trophy will certainly provide a big boost for golf in the north African country,” he said.

Last year, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, at present ranked number one on the European Order of Merit, (It’s Robert Karlsson who is N° 1 european order of merit at 19th october 2008) closed with a one over par 74 to win the tournament on 12 under par 280, a good three shots ahead of fellow Ulsterman Darren Clarke. With Els spearheading the field this year, the script will be different.