Abu Dhabi is the first stop in the series. Golf in the Middle East is thriving with professional tournaments hosted at various courses year-round. The first stop on the Gary Player Invitational’s six-country tour is Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi on February 6. Stops on the calendar include Abu Dhabi, Tokyo, London, New York City, Hong Kong and Sun City, South Africa.
Pros love playing in the Gary Player Invitational. And not just any pros, Major Championship winners. The “World’s Biggest Major Selfie Ever” which was taken during last year’s event at Wentworth in London, saw Gary Player team up with 11 other Major Champions including Tom Watson and 2016 Masters Champion Danny Willett.
Celebrities do too. The tournament’s history is filled with a wide variety of iconic figures across the world including Nelson Mandela, Samuel L Jackson, Michael Jordan, Mahela Jayawardeneto, Michael Douglas and Celine Deon. The short list of golf pros and legends include Jack Nicklaus, Rory McIlroy, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Jason Day. This year’s event in Abu Dhabi will see include cricket greats Ricky Ponting and Brian Lara, Rugby legend Springbok rugby legend Victor Matfield, model, racing car driver and television personality, Jodie Kidd, popstars of BoyzLife, Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden, and the UAE’s very own funny man, Emirati comedian, Ali Al Sayed.
All Gary Player Invitationals are played on Gary Player-designed courses. Gary Player Design is the architect of the awarding-winning courses staging the Gary Player Invitational series. A world-wide tour to play each course is surely on any golfer’s bucket list. The Abu Dhabi course is the award-winning – and Gary Player-designed, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.
Giving is at the heart of the event. The global series is run by Black Knight International to help The Player Foundation reach its goal of raising $100 million for charities around the world. Each tournament selects a beneficiary in that particular country who receives funds from an auction which includes staying with Gary Player during The Masters. The beneficiary for the UAE stop of the series is the Zayed Higher Organization of Humanitarian Care and Special Needs.