Classifieds powered by Gulf News

Els eyes strong Abu Dhabi debut

Three-time Desert Classic winner hopes regional record helps

Gulf News

Dubai: Four-time Major winner and current Open Championship holder Ernie Els is looking to build upon previous Arabian success, after confirming his debut participation at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship from January 17 to 20.

The 43-year-old South African, who has won 65 events since turning professional in 1989, won his first European Tour event in the UAE in 1994 at The Dubai Desert Classic and backed it up with two further wins in 2002 and 2005. He also won the Qatar Masters in 2005.

“Big Easy”, as he’s otherwise known, is now looking to add the Falcon Trophy to his expansive trophy cabinet, kick-starting his third decade in golf at the first major event of the 2013 season along with Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Jason Dufner at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

“I’ve played all over the world but this will be my first appearance in Abu Dhabi and I am excited,” said Els, who is one of only six men to have won the US Open and The Open Championship twice.

“I have been playing in the Middle East since 1994, I won my first European Tour title in the UAE [The Dubai Desert Classic] and I’ve enjoyed a lot of success in the Arabian Gulf; it would be great to add an Abu Dhabi title to my collection.”

Having been elected to the golf’s Hall of Fame in 2010, Els won his fourth Major earlier this year with a one-stroke victory at The Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes — a victory which propelled him back up to 15 in the world rankings. When not travelling the world playing golf, Els has a golf course design business, a charitable Autism Foundation which supports golf, education and life skills among underprivileged youngsters in South Africa and a number of other businesses.