While the world’s best golfers fight it out on the Earth Course in the 2020 European Tour season finale — the DP World Tour Championship — golf as a sport has been making massive strides to secure its place at the helm of UAE and global sports.
Only a few weeks ago, ahead of the greatest players — such as Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and Shane Lowry — descending on Jumeirah Golf Estates, DP World announced a groundbreaking rebranding of the European Tour, From next season — which begins next week with the first of three events in South Africa before the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January — the season-long tournament will be known as the DP World Tour, as the UAE company takes over the helm of the famous competition.
Danny van Otterdijk, Chief Communications Officer of Group Communications at DP World, took time out to explain to Gulf News the major development and the vision for the future.
“This has been a more-than 10-year project,” he said on the sidelines of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship on Saturday. “As you know, we have been associated with the European Tour for well over a decade. We have grown in this season-ending event so much and we knew it was time to take it further. It has been a natural journey as we have worked hand-in-hand with the European Tour for such a long time.
“Our origins as a Dubai regional operator made the perfect fit when we began with ET as we could bring customers and tourists to the city and the region. It made a lot of sense. But over the last decade, both we and ET grew and we have become a truly global conglomerate — 60-plus countries, 130-plus locations and over 100,000 staff. Holding one event didn’t make a whole lot of sense anymore. So naturally we spoke to the European Tour about how we could expand our platform and derive greater benefit for all our stakeholders, from Northern Canada to Korea, Australia to Chile. The natural movement was to look at the tour as a whole rather than one event — where we are now.
“It was a defining moment for the European Tour too as never before had they given the Tour title to anybody, so they clearly embraced our vision.
“Keith Pelley (European Tour CEO) told me that it had never even been considered before — but it is a perfect partnership and this is the outcome.”
From the Etihad in Manchester to the Emirates Stadium in London, we have seen companies and sports brands coming together to create a brighter future, and Danny insists this partnership will only improve the sport and allow accessibility for all — including schools and special needs.
“Arsenal and Manchester City have shown the way forward,” Danny said. “Only 20 years ago you couldn’t imagine how this branding could work. Old Trafford is Old Trafford, but now names like Emirates and Etihad are synonymous with sport. Our historic association with the European Tour allowed us to explore this option and it will be beneficial to all in the future.
“We are pushing to allow golf available to all — it has a bit of an exclusive tag and we want to make it inclusive. We see this association as synonymous with the game of golf and our name becoming the future of golf.
“we have been working on the grassroots for years now and this deal — with our presence around the world — allows us to get everyone involved.
“We see football, rugby tennis as extra-curricular activities. We need to get golf in there too. One of our goals would be to get a home champion — local or expat — and really take golf to the next level in the region. We have such potential coming through on both the male and female side. We used to get one or two talents coming through but now we see teams, from all walks of life — 10-year-olds, 16-year-olds and even younger. Plus People of Determination also so it feels we are now wholly inclusive.
“We are also looking to get the Ladies European Tour on board also so the future looks bright.”