The news of producing the current Oman Golf Committee (OGC), also branded as Golf Oman, into an OGA was revealed by H E Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al Rumhi, Minister of Oil and Gas, and the man behind the improvement of golf in the sultanate.
In an exclusive interview with Muscat Daily, H E Dr Rumhi mentioned, “I am delighted to share this extremely important news that the Ministry of Sports Affairs has given the nod to set up Oman Golf Association. It is a very positive step to have an association. It is a recognition of the game of golf and the strides it has made in the country.”
OGC was set up by MoSA in January, 2009. The news of the setting up of OGA could not have come at a far better time with Oman acquiring prepared to host its greatest golf tournament – the Oman Open – a European Tour occasion for the second year in succession.
The US$1.75mn prize-funds tournament will be held at the Greg Norman-created Al Mouj Golf from February 28-March three. It is anticipated to attract some of the world’s major golfers, which includes defending champion Joost Luiten and Ryder Cup star Chris Wood.
The Oman Open, which was effectively played as NBO Open final year, is ‘a dream come true’ according to H E Dr Rumhi, whose keen interest has been the cause that the European Tour continues to make Oman as its location. After the pullout of NBO as the title sponsor, H E Dr Rumhi’s private interest saw Oman’s private sector come forward in a huge way. Besides the private sector in Oman, in a initial, there are couple of overseas organizations, who have joined in to help the occasion.
“Sometimes with issues come possibilities. We had been disappointed when the primary sponsor backed out so late. However, a couple of calls and it did not take us lengthy to get the other sponsors on board as they agreed with our aim – to place Oman on the globe golfing map and use the Oman Open as a car to market golf tourism in the sultanate.
“With an estimated worldwide TV audience reaching out to more that 200mn, the Oman Open provides us a fantastic chance to showcase our country over four days with golf action along with clips of Musandam, Salalah, wadis, desert and mountains.”
H E Dr Rumhi, who is an avid golfer, mentioned that ‘the larger objective of Oman Open is to let the world know that a peaceful country like ours is full of opportunities for investment’. “I believe the Oman Open under the organisation of Oman Golf Committee will put spotlight on Oman to further strengthen the message to the world, that Oman is a beautiful destination for tourists and an attractive destination for investors.”
The financial effect of final year’s occasion in Oman, according to European Tour, has been estimated to be US$26mn. With the annual Tour of Oman cycling race to commence on February 16 and a Quadrangular T20I Series cricket, involving Test-playing nation Ireland, starting on Wednesday along with an international regatta – EFG Sailing Arabia-The Tour presently below way, H E Dr Rumhi admitted that there is a want to space out such huge sporting events in future. “The Ministry of Sports Affairs along with other stakeholders can discuss on this matter as it would be better to have such popular international events spaced out.”
On the plans ahead for Oman Open, H E Dr Rumhi mentioned, “We have a three-year deal with European Tour with an option to renew it. We are keen to have a long-term relationship with the European Tour. We have a dream to bring in big stars in future and with golf projects coming up in Sohar and plans for courses in Duqm and Salalah, golf is certainly on the upswing. “In future, my wish is to have this tournament travel to new courses across Oman which will be a fantastic way to promote Oman’s tourism potential.”
Information Source: Muscat Daily