Muscat: Oman’s top amateur Azzan Al Rumhy and his national team coach Steven Troup are excited to fulfil a lifelong dream and rub shoulders with the European Tour stars in this week’s inaugural NBO Oman Open at Almouj Golf after receiving invitations for the event.
Troup, who is a full-time teaching professional at Almouj Golf and also part of the Oman Golf Committee, was pleasantly shocked when he found out that he would be participating in the the biggest golfing event to be held in Oman.
“I’m excited to tee it up on this big stage but also a little apprehensive!” admits Scottish teaching-pro Troup, who’s lowest score is 67 on the Greg Norman-designed track.
“A few guys were joking about me playing in this European Tour event for quite some time but I always played it down and laughed it off until I actually got officially invited three weeks ago – then I started practicing a lot harder!”
This is the first time a European Tour event is being in Oman after hosting Challenge Tour events since 2013 including the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final for the past three years.
“Hosting a European Tour event here is absolutely massive – not just for the golf club, but for Oman itself,” says Troup. “It will put this country on the world stage because this is the biggest event to be hosted out here.”
Azzan, who was crowned Oman’s top player when he won the NBO Omani Amateur Final during last year’s NBO Golf Classic Grand Final, has dreamed about the opportunity to compete in his home country against a field which includes a host of past Ryder Cup players, Major champions and leading players from around the world.
The occasion is set to be a proud moment for him and his family who have seen a huge development in golf in this part of the world.
“I’ve always looked forward to playing in a European Tour event after going to Dubai many times over the years to watch the stars,” says Al Rumhy.
“I’ve played on smaller Tour events like when the Challenge Tour was here in November but nothing as big as this. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me so I’m privileged and honoured to represent Oman amongst this strong field.”
There is some friendly competition going on between Azzan and his mentor Troup ahead of this spectacle which is expected to have a global television reach in excess of 400 million homes when it takes place off from Thursday to Sunday.
“Steven is a great man. I started working with him just over a year ago and I believe he’s the best coach we have in the country,” said Al Rumhy. “He’s a good player especially his putting. My target is to beat him this weekend but regardless of the result, we will both have fun during this incredible opportunity.”