Clarke hails land­mark deal for the MENA Tour

World rank­ing sta­tus means golfers can aim to qual­ify for fu­ture Olympic Games

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

The grow­ing strength of the MENA Golf Tour has been recog­nised at the high­est level af­ter its mem­bers were given rank­ing sta­tus by the Gov­ern­ing Board of the Of­fi­cial World Golf Rank­ing (OWGR).

The land­mark de­ci­sion was made by the sport’s gov­ern­ing body at a meet­ing held dur­ing the Masters at Au­gusta and will pro­vide a huge boost for the de­vel­op­ment of golf across the re­gion.

The rank­ing sys­tem will come into place at the Ras Al Khaimah Clas­sic, which starts on May 2 at Tower Links Golf Club.

“We are re­ally de­lighted about this recog­ni­tion as it is a ma­jor step for­ward for a tour which aims to max­imise the re­gion’s enor­mous po­ten­tial for golf,” said Euro­pean Ry­der Cup cap­tain and MENA Tour pa­tron Dar­ren Clarke. “The tour is now com­plete in ev­ery sense of the word, one that will open the door to new hori­zons.

“The MENA re­gion is an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant mar­ket for the game as a lot of fresh ta­lent com­ing up through the ranks over the last few years.

“With each tour event car­ry­ing world rank­ing points, the mo­men­tum will only pick up pace. “From my ex­pe­ri­ence I can tell this tour is the fastest grow­ing pro­fes­sional golf tour in the world. With all the prize money, new des­ti­na­tions and OWGR points, I think this is go­ing to go in one di­rec­tion.” The an­nounce­ment will also pro­vide MENA golfers with the chance to qual­ify for fu­ture Olympic Games with golf re­turn­ing to the global event for the first time in over a cen­tury this sum­mer in Rio de Janeiro.

Mo­hamed Juma Bua­maim, chair­man of the MENA Golf Tour, added: “With OWGR points on of­fer, the MENA Golf Tour mem­bers, es­pe­cially from the re­gion, can hope to tar­get qual­i­fi­ca­tion to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo as a more re­al­is­tic goal.

“For any sportsper­son there is no big­ger hon­our than hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to rep­re­sent your country.

“With a pop­u­la­tion of close to 400 mil­lion, golf in the re­gion cer­tainly has the po­ten­tial to grow even big­ger.

“At the end of the day, all we want is to try and stim­u­late growth of golf in the Arab world and en­tice new ta­lent to the sport.”

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