Muscat: Amateur golfers in Oman are being granted a once in a lifetime opportunity to rub shoulders with the stars of the European Tour in the inaugural NBO Oman Open, taking place at the Almouj Golf in Muscat from February 15 to 18 courtesy of an initiative driven by title sponsors NBO in collaboration with the Oman Golf Committee (OGC).
Getting the chance to compete alongside Ryder Cup stars and Major champions is something most amateurs can only dream about but for the winner of the OHI Oman Amateur Open, taking place at Ghala Golf Club from January 26 to 27 that dream will become a reality.
Among the NBO Oman Open’s elite field will be former Ryder Cup players Robert Karlsson, Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood and Nicolas Colsaerts, along with former Open Champion Paul Lawrie, who has also played in the Ryder Cup twice, and Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston and the prospect of teeing it up with such big names has seen almost 300 entries for only 108 places in the two-day event at Ghala Golf Club.
Mundhir Al Barwani, Chairman of Golf Oman, said: “This is the ninth edition of the Oman Amateur Open and we really appreciate the support of our title sponsor OHI who are supporting us again this year. With the winner earning a place in the NBO Oman Open it has helped Oman attract golfers from the region to participate. This helps with our vision of Oman becoming the next big golfing destination.”
The exciting initiative reflects a key driver of NBO’s sponsorship of golf in the Sultanate, which has seen a European Challenge Tour event staged at Almouj Golf for the past five years and will this year bring the European Tour to Oman for the first time.
Nick Tarratt, Director European Tour International, said: “The NBO Oman Open represents the biggest professional sports event ever to take place in the Sultanate and NBO, along with the Government of Oman, must be applauded for their efforts in bringing the event into being.
“The hosting of a European Challenge Tour event in Muscat for the last five years has helped greatly in promoting Oman on the world stage and the event’s elevation to the European Tour will significantly enhance that profile in promoting the beauty of the country and its merits as a world-class destination for tourism and business.
“But alongside that is a desire to grow the sport of golf from the grass-roots up in Oman and initiatives such as this are a key element of that.”
Oman’s leading amateur, Azzan Al Rumhy said: “There is a big buzz about this year’s OHI Oman Amateur Open among the golf community in Oman. The event takes place annually but this year is extra special because of the opportunity to play in the NBO Oman Open for the winner. I’ve played in the Challenge Tour event before but have never played a European Tour event so it would be amazing to experience that.”