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When Javier Ballesteros tees up at the 2014 Omega Dubai Desert Classic it is sure to evoke memories of his iconic father, the great Seve, pumping his fist in celebration after winning the event in 1992.

The pressure to emulate the deeds of his dad may be huge, but Ballesteros junior is committed to carrying on the legacy of a man hailed as the king of European golf.

To honour the memory of Seve on the landmark 25th anniversary celebration of the Desert Classic, golf in DUBAi extended a special invitation to his eldest son to join a star-studded field, led by world No1 Tiger Woods, Race to Dubai winner Henrik Stenson and Northern Ireland’s golf sensation Rory McIlroy.

Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi, said: “We have invited all past champions to join the celebrations.

"We would have loved to see Seve in the field. Sadly, he is no longer with us today, but he will always be in our hearts and thoughts. Seve was a great champion and an even greater human being, who transformed European golf. We hope the presence of Javier will help keep the Seve spirit alive.

“Javier is young and talented and has good qualities to become a worthy successor to his father’s legacy. I wish him the very best and hope he has a wonderful trip to Dubai.”

Javier, 23, has already taken the first step on the road to following in the footsteps of his legendary father – a five-time major champion and Ryder Cup-winning player and captain – when he made his debut on the Challenge Tour in April this year.

He may have missed the cut, but described it a very good experience.

“My mother and father always supported me to play golf, but both always told me that studies come first,” he said.

“With every day that passes I enjoy golf more, but I do not plan challenges or set goals. For now I enjoy, have fun.

“With so many big names in the field, it will be fun to play in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. I am really grateful to golf in DUBAi for remembering my father and giving me the chance to play.

“I really appreciate their gesture and congratulate them on behalf of my family on the 25th anniversary of the event,” added Javier, who won the amateur Madrid Open last year.

“I am looking forward to visiting Dubai and playing on the same course where my father’s victory in 1992 is still talked about.

“It’s going to be a double excitement for me.”

The 25th edition of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic gets under way at Emirates Golf Club from January 30 to February 2, 2014.

IN BRIEF

DUBAI GOLF GETS THE NOD FROM THE INDUSTRY WITH PRESTIGIOUS GLOBAL TOURISM AWARD

Dubai Golf, operator of Emirates Golf Club, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club and Almouj Golf in Muscat, Oman, has been named Golf Tourism Supplier of the Year at the prestigious International Association of Golf Tour Operator (IAGTO) Awards held in Spain.

This important accolade, based on votes cast by IAGTO’s 500-plus member tour operators in 62 countries, recognised Dubai Golf for its commitment to international tourism.

Christopher May, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Golf, said: “In a year when Emirates Golf Club, the Middle East’s first grass golf course, celebrated its 25th anniversary and its sister course, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club marked its 20th year, it is fitting that we have also been recognised by IAGTO members for services to the golf travel industry.

“Our courses continue to welcome international visitors from around the world – we have seen strong growth in visitor numbers in 2013 – and the significant and on-going investments made by Dubai Golf underline its continued commitment to giving every guest a five-star experience to remember.”

Emirates Golf Club, which recently celebrated 1,000,000 rounds of golf played on its courses, remains an icon for golf in the UAE. Its Majlis course, ranked in Golf World Magazine’s top 100 Courses, has the honour of annually hosting the European Tour’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic (celebrating its 25th anniversary next year) and the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.

OSMAN & SHARMA OUT-THINK THEIR RIVALS IN THREE CLUBS AND A PUTTER TOURNAMENT

Daud Osman and SGSC Nepalese Golf Professional Purna Sharma produced a masterclass in shot-making as they romped home the day’s winners in the November edition of the BMW Members & Guests Social with an impressive net 66.1.

Using the very tricky ‘three clubs & a putter’ format all the golfers had to think their way around the golf course. With two shotguns for the golfers, the morning’s winners were Sinar & Hassan Astar who returned a very good 68.3.

The ‘front nine Texas Scramble’ format went to South African duo of Hanief Sallie and Simon Mmutle with a 33.8. The back nine tricky Shambles Better Ball format went to Raj Ranavaya and Jaydeep Sarkar.

LUCKY YOUNGSTERS ENJOY A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE AT JGE

Inspired by the likes of champion Henrik Stenson and last year’s winner Rory McIlroy, a party of young golfers aged 5-16 were thrilled by a special behind-the-scenes insight at the DP World Tour Championship during a visit to the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

During the private trip, the 22 youngsters visited the new European Tour Performance Institute (ETPI), toured the tournament’s busy media centre, watched players on the driving range, walked through the championship village and were welcomed to the course by world-renowned golf coach Pete Cowen, who works with 17 European Tour stars such as world No3 Stenson and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell.

Organised by the DP World Tour Championship, the Emirates Golf Federation, Jumeirah Golf Estates and the European Tour, in association with the Emerging World Youth Golf Tour, the visit gave the youngsters the chance to experience life at a professional tournament both on and off the course.

“I’m so pleased Emerging World worked on this initiative at the DP World Tour Championship,” said Emerging World Director and former European Tour Chief Executive Ken Schofield.

“I’m delighted with this initiative and the inspiration these young golfers are gaining as the opportunity will help them go forward. It is wonderful for the game to have rising talent as well as such interest in the game in the region.”

 

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