Clarke hails landmark deal for the MENA Tour
World ranking status means golfers can aim to qualify for future Olympic Games
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.”