Yas Links Abu Dhabi has been described as “the best links course in the world” by the chairman of the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), Dr David Cherry.
His high praise came as the Kyle Phillips-designed course gets ready to host the 27th Nomura Cup from Thursday.
During a press conference on the eve of the most prestigious amateur tournament in Asia Pacific region, Dr Cherry said his comments “may disappoint my Scottish friends” but stood by his call on the 7414-yard, par-72 layout.
“I mean that and I would say that anywhere, even in Scotland,” the Australian administrator said.
“It’s a magnificent layout…it’s just a pure links golf course. It’s challenging, it’s tough enough for a major event such as this…what else do you need?
“I mean you’ve already got Abu Dhabi Golf Club (host of the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship) and Saadiyat Beach is also a fantastic golf course, but this (Yas Links) is the pick of them.”
Cherry said the APGC would consider bringing future events to Abu Dhabi and his comments on Yas Links won’t go unnoticed globally.
EGF vice-chairman and Nomura Cup organising committee chairman Adel Zarouni has been quoted previously, in his role as Arab Golf Federation (AGF) Secretary-General, that a bid for the Eisenhower Trophy would be the obvious next step if they were successful in hosting the Nomura Cup.
That appears guaranteed given the comments of Dr Cherry who added: “This is a very attractive place to come and particularly with the support of the Emirates Golf Federation.
— Yas Viceroy AbuDhabi (@YasViceroy) December 14, 2014
Adel Zarouni has been amazing the way he has supported this event. The infrastructure is fantastic here, all the hotels nearby, a major airport, that’s a huge plus, people can fly straight in. They’ll have more major events here.”
Australia, winners of the Nomura Cup a record 10 times and seven of the last eight titles, will defend their crown at Yas Links as 27 countries battle over 72 holes until Sunday in an event that is second only to the Eisenhower Trophy world amateur men’s team championship in terms of size and stature.
The tournament is a 72-hole strokeplay event – where the best three of four scores each day contribute towards a country’s overall total.
Zarouni said the national governing body was ready to embrace the opportunity presented by winning the right to host the Nomura Cup in the region for the first time in the event’s 52-year history.
“The Emirates Golf Federation is honoured to host this prestigious championship for the first time…it’s a proud moment for the amateur game in the UAE and for the wider Arab golf world,” Zarouni said, acknowledging the support of tournament partners Yas Links Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).
“It’s another wonderful opportunity to expose players from across the region to top international amateur competition. It is also a reminder to the global golfing community of the world-class courses and facilities that make the UAE one of the game’s emerging hotspots.”
Zarouni’s comments were echoed by Faisal Al Sheikh, Events Bureau Director at TCA Abu Dhabi which promotes the ‘Golf in Abu Dhabi’ initiative, a collective of the emirate’s six clubs including Yas Links.
He said: “Yas Links Abu Dhabi is one of the jewels in Abu Dhabi’s golfing crown, a collection of world class courses. This is a great opportunity to showcase the premium golf product and diverse tourism and cultural experiences Abu Dhabi offers to a very important market across Asia.”
New club general manager Howie Roberts is looking forward to an absorbing battle at Yas Links and praised Yas Links’ Kiwi course superintendent Michael Clark who has presented the wall-to-wall Paspalum Platinum grass test in pristine condition for the championship.
“The members at Yas Links Abu Dhabi are rightly proud of their course which is set to host yet ano-ther important championship. It’s a testing challenge, especially when the wind gets up, that I’m sure all the players at this Nomura Cup will enjoy and return home raving about,” Roberts said.
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