To further set the tone for UAE’s celebration of the Year of Tolerance, the Gary Player Invitational kicked off this year in the UAE as the first leg of the 2019 GPI global series of the world-leading charity golf event at the Saadiyat Beach golf club on Sunday, January 13th.
The core purpose of the Gary Player Invitational is to raise funds for the less fortunate, but when the tournament host and sporting icon attended an informal roundtable ahead of the competition, he alluded to the event attempting to accomplish even more.
Through the tournament, Player is actively working to make the sport more inclusive and has shown great support for ladies’ golf and get them more exposure, which he believes is the best way to counter the slump its currently going through.
“I am a very strong proponent of ladies’ golf,” the 83-year old said. “These women are strong and fit, and they come out to play a great game. I say, we should support that and give them the exposure they deserve. They are great role models and we need young women to participate in sports. Sports can change the world and it can change your life.”
American professional golfer, Cheyenne Woods, also agreed with the legendary golfer and believes that the setbacks in the European tour are a result of a lack of exposure.
“A lot of it comes down to exposure, I love what the Ladies European Tour and the Men’s European Tour are doing with the different formats. I just think if there is anything we can do to showcase the talents of the female golfers then that would really get the interest going, which ultimately carries over to the prize money,” the 28-year-old said.
“The prize money is getting better, especially with the PGA in the United States, but there is always room for improvement. So, anything we can do to boost the exposure and the platform, it would be a huge help,” she added.
The UAE has always been lauded for being a society that has become a beacon of multicultural coexistence. The country has successfully worked on a paradigm of diversity that is accepting of people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds.
With 2019 declared as the Year of Tolerance, the model is set to be implemented in all sectors and is expected to have a massive impact in the sporting world.
The Gary Player Invitational was just the first of many tournaments to come and is setting the stage for the Special Olympics World Games that is going to be held in Abu Dhabi in March, which is the first time ever that the games are held in the MENA region.
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