A recent trend seen in the game of golf, especially the business end of professional golf tournaments, is players becoming hosts of tournaments and supporting tournaments in various forms.
Option one is to commercially become both the host and the promoter of a tournament.
Another option that was showcased in this Middle East region was to create a Challenge Tour event which was well demonstrated in 2010 with Rory McIlroy being the marquee player of the Egyptian Open at Mirage City Golf Club, Cairo.
This alignment served many purposes -- it raised the profile of a tournament that would not perhaps ordinarily attract global media attention and it also showed that the Challenge Tour players are the future stars.
The next best thing is for players to be hosts. This is the modern model.
And next week we will see Dubai resident Rafa Cabrera Bello acting as host of the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open.
Rafa was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, and grew up with his parents and family, learning the game at the tournament venue at Meloneras Golf in Maspalomas.
Rafa is passionate about the development of golf in the Canary Islands and in 2019 he established the Circuito Juvenil Rafa Cabrera Bello, an annual series of tournaments for children and young golfers around the archipelago.
The circuit will celebrate its third test of activities on April 24 at Maspalomas Golf Club.
This initiative is supported by one of Rafa’s long standing sponsors, JA Resorts & Hotels, headquartered here in Dubai.
We recently caught up with Rafa’s manager Richard Rayment, another loyal supporter of Dubai and long-term Dubai resident.
“Rafa was approached a while ago to act as tournament host of this event. There was no hesitation in him accepting,” said Richard.
“It helps Rafa with his profile in the game, around the world and in Spain and especially Gran Canaria, and he has encouraged many Spanish players to support, who may not have committed to play in the event. In fact, I have three players who I manage participating next week: Rafa himself, fellow Dubai resident Adri Arnaus and Borja Virto.”
The tournament will have no spectators, but to see a golf tournament take place with TV coverage is pretty impressive these days.
We will never ever take them for granted again!
GOLF AROUND THE WORLD THIS WEEK
PGA TOUR www.pgatour.com
Venue: Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, SC, US
Purse: $7.1 million
EUROPEAN TOUR www.europeantour.com
Venue: Diamond CC, Vienna, Austria
Purse: €1 million
Venue: Kapolei GC, Hawaii
Purse: $ 2 million