Yas Links Abu Dhabi will host some of the biggest names from the European Tour at the 17th edition of the championship from 20-23 January 2022.
Designed by Kyle Phillips and recently ranked 48th in Golf Digest’s global Top 100 courses, Yas Links is owned by Aldar and managed by Troon. The course will herald a new chapter for the prestigious event as it moves to one of the world’s fastest growing leisure and entertainment destinations in Abu Dhabi from January 20-23, 2022.
Hosted at a new venue for the first time in the tournament’s history, the European Tour this week confirmed that the opening tournament of the 2022 Race to Dubai season will get underway with a Rolex Series event at Yas Links Abu Dhabi.
First staged in 2006, the tournament has been played at the iconic Abu Dhabi Golf Club for 16 consecutive years and, having built a strong legacy in the Middle East, the move to Yas Island highlights Abu Dhabi as an international sports hub with the season ending F1 Championship and Ultimate Fighting Championship also taking residency at the world-class venue.
News of Yas Links Abu Dhabi’s addition to the European Tour schedule from 2022 onwards follows confirmation from the UAE authorities that people travelling to the emirate no longer need to show a negative COVID-19 test result to cross the border into the capital from Dubai. International travellers are also set to benefit following changes to the Abu Dhabi green list in October, with fully vaccinated individuals not required to quarantine on arrival, regardless of nationality or where they have come from. Abu Dhabi has also added 27 countries to its green list of travel, meaning that a total of 82 destinations, including the UK, France, Germany, the U.S., Israel, are exempt from quarantining regardless of their vaccination status.
His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “We are excited to bring our award-winning Championship to Yas Links for the first time. Abu Dhabi and Yas Island is renowned for showcasing world-class sporting events and we are looking forward to another fantastic championship to kick off an exciting year of sport in the UAE.”
Mark Chapleski, President of Troon International said: “I am very proud of our team who have been hard at work over the past two years to successfully deliver a series of extensive on-course improvements at Yas Links Abu Dhabi. As the first true links style course in the Middle East, its current playability is second to none and this is recognised globally thanks to its top 50 ranking on Golf Digest’s Top 100 courses in the world. The course’s signature finishing holes on 16, 17 and 18 are regarded as one of the toughest trios in the UAE with the mangroves looming down the left of all three and it will be fascinating to see how the pros approach them in January next year.”
With the authorities confirming that the COVID-19 infection rate in the Emirate was just 0.2 percent of all recorded tests in September 2021 and with cases continuing to fall in October, Abu Dhabi is expecting visitor numbers to increase significantly. Now entering “peak season” with cooler weather, events such as the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are set to entice a large number of international tourists and business travellers to the UAE’s capital city.
The championship’s move to Yas Island is an exciting one, particularly for Aldar, as the island’s leading real estate developer and manager. In recent years, Yas Island has become the premiere destination for entertainment, leisure, retail and business in Abu Dhabi and is home to many of the capital’s main tourist attractions.
Jassem Busaibe, Chief Executive Officer at Aldar Investment said: “Aldar is proud to continue its long association with the European Tour and welcome the HSBC Championship to its Yas Links Abu Dhabi course for the first time. Yas Island is a perfect home for the event, and we look forward to welcoming players, guests, and officials to the island, which is home to Aldar’s most iconic residential, retail, hospitality, entertainment, and leisure destinations.”
Abdulfattah Sharaf, HSBC UAE CEO and Head of International, said: “Opening up a world of opportunity is in HSBC’s DNA – it’s what we’ve been doing here for our customers for 75 years – and by bringing the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship to Yas Links for the first time, we mark another milestone on our journey of supporting new visions and new ideas in the UAE.”
Keith Pelley, CEO of the European Tour, added: “As one of our Rolex Series events, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and Yas Links offer our players and fans an experience like no other. Yas Island is synonymous with major sporting events in the United Arab Emirates and we are delighted our first Rolex Series tournament of the year will be highlighted on the global stage.”
Yas Links Abu Dhabi will offer a unique blend of first-class hospitality and entertainment activities for fans, with the team at Troon Abu Dhabi already hard at work to ensure that those visiting will enjoy the best possible experience. These efforts also extend to the golf course itself, which was designed by Kyle Phillips and recently voted number one in the region. The man tasked with ensuring Yas Links Abu Dhabi is up to Tour standard by January 2022 is Yas Links Abu Dhabi Golf Course Manager, Corey Finn and while commenting on preparations said:
“The build up to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is always very exciting but 2022 will be even more special with a brand-new venue for us to sink our teeth into. Many of the European and PGA Tour players will kick-start their competitive year in Abu Dhabi hoping to tame our notoriously tricky coastal course. Working closely with the European Tour creates a special environment and this will be no different in terms of working with a new team at Yas Links Abu Dhabi, as we are all working towards the same goal; making the 2022 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship even bigger and better than what’s come before.”
Tyrell Hatton will need to produce another dominant performance at Yas Links Abu Dhabi if he is going to secure back-to-back titles. In January 2021, the Englishman went toe-to-toe with four-time Major winner and Ryder Cup teammate Rory McIlroy throughout the week and eventually finished four shots clear of the stellar field to kickstart his year.