Bahrain, GCC: The DP World Tour is making a long-awaited return to the Kingdom of Bahrain for the first time in 13 years with the Bahrain Championship, set to take place at Royal Golf Club from February 1-4, 2024.
The announcement of the tournament, which will be held under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, was marked by a special signing ceremony by His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa alongside DP World Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley.
“We are pleased to host the Bahrain Championship on the DP World Tour in the Kingdom of Bahrain,” said His Highness. “This championship, which forms part of what is an elite professional golf tournament series, is organised in cooperation between the Royal Golf Club, the General Sports Authority, the Bahrain Olympic Committee, and the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority.
“Golf is a sport that receives major support and sponsorship from His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the King of the Kingdom of Bahrain. His Majesty is a passionate practitioner and enthusiast of this sport, which reflects His Majesty's great interest in and support for sports and athletes. His Majesty is the foremost athlete in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Commitment to supporting various sports
“We take pride in hosting this international championship, where a constellation of professional players will compete at the Royal Golf Club. Organising this event is part of our continued commitment to supporting various sports, including golf, which is one of the most important sports at the global level. We have full confidence in the success of this championship, thanks to the cooperation and integration between various civil and governmental entities in presenting it in the best possible manner.
“Through embracing this championship, we aim to elevate Bahrain's position and showcase its capabilities in hosting sporting events. We also want to emphasise our commitment to the development of golf in the Kingdom. We wish all participants continued success and prosperity.”
Paul Casey last winner in Bahrain
The last time the DP World Tour was in the Kingdom of Bahrain was in 2011, when Englishman Paul Casey came through what he called "one of the toughest battles I've ever had" to end 20 months without a victory by winning the inaugural Volvo Golf Champions on the Colin Montgomerie designed Royal Golf Club course in Bahrain.
“We are thrilled to welcome back the DP World Tour to Bahrain,” said His Excellency Faris Mustafa Al Kooheji, Secretary General of Bahrain Olympic Committee. “Golf is a game, not only of great skill, but one which showcases the highest levels of sportsmanship, fairness and etiquette and one which the Kingdom is proud to support and encourage. Through hosting the Bahrain Championship and welcoming some of the best golfers in the world, we are underlining our commitment to this wonderful sport.”
Creating opportunities for Bahraini players
Two amateur spots will be up for grabs at the Bahrain Amateur Open, taking place October 12-14. The overall winner plus a spot for the leading Bahraini amateur will be awarded at this prestigious amateur event. Additionally, the leading Bahraini as well as the winner of the King Hamad Trophy, played November 23-25, will get the opportunity of a lifetime to tee it up alongside the DP World Tour professionals in the Bahrain Championship.
Opportunities born out through an initiative between the Bahrain Olympic Committee and the DP World Tour to give Bahraini players the chance to tee it up against the worlds best players.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the DP World Tour, said: “I would firstly like to thank His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Bahrain, Highness Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa and His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa for welcoming us to the Kingdom of Bahrain as we launch a new event on our International Schedule.
“The Bahrain Championship will mark the DP World Tour’s return to the Kingdom of Bahrain for the first time since 2011 and helps form part of our International Swing of events.
“We are excited to return to Bahrain in February as we continue to showcase our diverse array of tournaments in different countries and cultures across the world.”
Prize fund of $2.5 million
With just over 100 days to go until the event, which has a prize fund of $2.5 million, the Royal Golf Club course has undergone extensive upgrades, supported by Osool Asset Management and Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company (Mumtalakat), the sovereign wealth fund of the Kingdom of Bahrain, headed by His Excellency Sheikh Abdulla bin Khalifa Al Khalifa. Among the key enhancements is the upgrading of a number of greens on the front nine to ensure it is in prime condition to welcome the elite stars of the DP World Tour.
“We are delighted to have been chosen as the host venue for the DP World Tour’s visit in 2024," said Captain Waleed Al Alawi, Chairman of the Royal Golf Club. "This tournament will shine a spotlight on Bahrain's sports scene and will further establish the Royal Golf Club as a leading golfing destination in the region. We are excited to welcome the world's top golfers to our esteemed club and showcase the beauty of our country."
Dr. Nasser Qaedi, CEO of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, added: "We seize this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa, First Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports (SCYS), Chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA), and President of the Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) for His Highness’s limitless support and relentless efforts for the sports development in the Kingdom, particularly attracting major international sports events in Bahrain.
"The DP World Tour comes in line with the Tourism Strategy (2022-2026) objectives to quadruple inbound tourism and increase the contribution of the tourism sector to the national economy, focusing on sports and recreation tourism as one of the main pillars of the strategy to strongly position Bahrain as the leading regional hub for the tourism and entertainment industries. In this regard, we at BTEA are fully committed to offering all kinds of support and enhancing collaboration to make this exceptional sports event a complete success".