First of all, a slightly belated very Happy New Year! I hope it’s a good one for you and your family.
We’ve enjoyed a wonderful few weeks here in South Africa, as we always do at this time of the year. Plenty of social golf, hanging with friends and family, lots of good food and drink. It’s a winning formula. As usual, though, after 2-3 weeks off I definitely start to get itchy feet and look forward to playing some competitive golf. Honestly, I don’t think that’s worn off one little bit these past 30 years.
Before the season starts, I’ll be paying a visit to Costa Rica on January 17-18 to host the inaugural Peninsula Papagayo member-guest charity golf tournament, with all proceeds benefitting local schools there. This event is open to all members of the Peninsula Papagayo Resort Community Master Association and invited guests, including hotel guests, residence and destination club members and rental guests. It’s going to be a lot of fun. And, as global brand ambassador for this incredible resort, I am excited to see the new clubhouse renovations, which will be unveiled along with our new members’ lounge. As you can see from the photo above, it’s such a beautiful setting, right by the ocean, and the whole place has a warm and relaxed Costa Rica feel. It’s going to be fun spending time there and helping spread the word to a wider audience. Click here for more details or visit the website if you’re interested in visiting Peninsula Papagayo in the future. .
So, from there we’ll then fly to the Middle East for back-to-back tournaments on the European Tour. First up, it’s the 30th anniversary playing of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. My fondness for this tournament and this golf course is no secret. I’ve been blessed to win there three times, had a bunch of other high finishes, and in my debut in 1994 played one of the best rounds of my career, a 12-birdie 61 in the first round on the way to winning my first European Tour title.
Obviously, the start of a new season is all about running hard from the get-go and trying to get some momentum rolling. Hopefully, all the good memories from my time playing the Majlis course will help me. I like the lines off the tees and the greens are usually quite soft so if you get your ball up, you can shoot some good scores. Plus it’s always special returning to a golf course where you’ve won before.
Straight after Dubai, we’ll be playing in the first ever Saudi International at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club. I was there last year for an event celebrating the official opening of this golf course and had a great time, met some lovely people. The course is spectacular and, with its setting upon a stretch of pristine Red Sea coastline, this is quickly going to become one of the most recognisable and popular destinations on any travelling golfer’s wish list. I said at the time that it would be a very worthy addition to the European Tour’s early-season Desert Swing and I’m happy now to be able to be a part of the inaugural tournament. I think the guys are going to love it there and also really enjoy this golf course.
Just before we sign off, here’s a quick reminder that our Els for Autism series of golf days is now up and running. We’ve got another calendar of golf days (pictured below) at some wonderful venues, with the grand final once again being held at the spectacular Lost City. The support these past few years has been great. It’s all about fun and fundraising and we’d love it if you could join us in 2019.
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