Golf and Giving: First event of the 2018 Gary Player Invitational Global Series sets bar high
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, January 30, 2018: The first leg of the 2018 Gary Player Invitational global series proved that they not only excel in golf but also generosity as Abu Dhabi’s third union of golf and giving raised more than 238,733 AED for local event beneficiary, the Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs.
Held in conjunction with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, under the Patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, and taking place at the award-winning Saadiyat Beach Golf Club on Monday, 29 January, the 2018 Gary Player Invitational saw golf champions, celebrities and business leaders join tournament host and sport icon Gary Player for the annual event in the Middle East.
With more than $64 million raised for charities worldwide to date, the funds from the Abu Dhabi event bring The Player Foundation closer to reaching its goal of raising $100 million for charities worldwide by 2025.
With established stars as well as the next generation of talent showing their support, the event included, along with the Black Knight, Masters Champion Trevor Immelman;2018 European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn; Ryder Cup stars and current champions, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Matt Fitzpatrick, the UAE’s own Rayhan Thomas, as well as golf phenom and surprise entry, 13-year-old Oscar Murphy. The event’s top honours went to Portugal Masters winner Lucas Bjerregaard, who led his Al Masaood Automobiles Infiniti team to victory.
“I simply love coming to Abu Dhabi. I respect the culture and am always impressed with the various people I meet during these visits. Etihad Airways, the airport and world-class infrastructure gets better and better. And the Louvre is a stunning combination of architecture and art. Thanks to everyone for making this so special,” said The Black Knight, Gary Player.
“We were honored yet again to play a key role in bringing the Gary Player Invitational to Abu Dhabi”, said His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council.“The spirit of the event and the importance of its mandate align perfectly with the vision of Abu Dhabi, and indeed the Abu Dhabi Sports Council. The success of this year’s event is a testament to the special place it occupies on our growing list of world-class events.”
Joining Bjerregaard, Bjorn, Cabrera-Bello and Fitzpatrick in representing the professional golfers at the event were D+D Real Czech Masters champion, Haydn Porteous; 2017 Alfred Dunhill Championship winner, Brandon Stone, and Jordan Smith, winner of the Porsche European Open. Ladies European Tour professionals showing support included Olivia Cowan, Carly Booth, Emma Cabrera Bello, and golf pundit Henni Goya.
Along with the pro-am tournament at the Gary Player-designed Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, the event also included a traditional post-event South African braai. A gala dinner, held on Sunday, 28 January at the five-star Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi also included a charity auction where the majority of the funds were raised.
The True Spirit of Golf and Giving
Extending the spirit of golf and giving even further at this year’s event, youth from event beneficiary, the Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs were also able to experience the fun and sportsmanship of golf through a special morning golf clinic on Sunday, 28 January.
The children, full of enthusiasm and determination, joined Gary Player and professionals Brandon Stone, Olivia Cowan and Henni Goya in a session led by grassroots golfing group, the Future Falcons. Everyone had fun interacting with Gary Player, and were able to try their hand at putting and driving with the other professionals.
Along with Abu Dhabi Sports Council, other supporters of the Gary Player Invitational include Etihad Airways, TDIC, the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi, SAP, Rolex, Abu Dhabi Ports and Al Masaood Automobiles.The 2018 event is the third event in what is a five-year agreement to host the event in Abu Dhabi.
ABU DHABI SPORTS COUNCIL
Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) was established in 2006 by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
ADSC is aligned to the emirate’s leadership vision to develop sport and youth activities. The Council promotes an effective, emirate-wide sports calendar that stimulates the desire to participate in quality sports among all Abu Dhabi residents and helps the talented and motivated reach their sporting potential.
The Council also hosts and supports the staging of international world-class sporting events. These include: the annual Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA; the Formula 1TM Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix; the ITU World Triathlon Series; both the Abu Dhabi and Gary Player Invitationals; the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour, the Red Bull Air Race; the Mubadala World Tennis Championship; the 2017 and 2018 FIFA Club World Cups; the 2019 AFC Asian Cup UAE and the UCI WorldTour event, The Abu Dhabi Tour.
We at ADSC firmly believe that sporting events deliver a host of benefits for the emirate and its residents. These span improved health and wellness, the building of community spirit, the discovering of local talent and the delivery of international exposure of the emirate as a world-class sporting events hub.
Whether it is land, sea or air, we have sport covered.
BLACK KNIGHT INTERNATIONAL
Established in 1983 by Marc Player, Black Knight International is a global holding company for The Player Group and the constantly expanding family of Gary Player® brands. With Invitational events in North and South America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, Black Knight is a multicultural and multilingual company offering branded services for the leisure and real estate industries. This rapidly growing firm is diverse and infused with the same tenaciousness and drive as Gary Player, world-renowned iconic golfer. The holding company divisions include Gary Player Design, Player Real Estate, Black Knight Enterprises, Black Knight Solutions, Black Knight Capital, Gary Player Academies, and The Player Foundation.
THE PLAYER FOUNDATION
The Player Foundation was established in 1983 by Marc Player. What began as an effort to provide education, nutrition, medical care and athletic activities, for a small community of disadvantaged children living on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa has now blossomed into an organization that circles the globe bringing aid to underprivileged children and impoverished communities.
The Foundation is funded primarily by annual Gary Player Invitational events presented through Black Knight International. Pairing celebrities and professional golfers from the PGA European, LPGA, Ladies European and Champions Tours with businessmen and international sports figures, the annual tournaments are staged in North America, Asia, Europe and South Africa. The proceeds of these tournaments and other special events provide funding for an ever-expanding number of institutions around the world, including the Blair Atholl Schools, Wildlands, Wings and Wishes and the Masizamein South Africa; the Pleasant City Elementary School and CESA Soccer in the USA; the Zayed Higher Organization, a special needs facility in Abu Dhabi, and Depaul, an organization assisting homeless youth in London. Since its establishment, The Player Foundation has donated more than $64 million to the support of various charities, the betterment of impoverished communities and the expansion of educational opportunities throughout the world.
Gary Player, acknowledged as a world-class humanitarian believes that the strength of our future depends upon the abilities of our children. “I have found that the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others does not thrust itself upon us,” Player says, “But we do not need to look hard for it either. When you spot the chance to give back to the world, act on it. You will have made life better, for others, and for yourself.”
The Gary Player Foundation is a non-profit 501 C (3) organization managed by Black Knight International in Palm Beach, Florida.