MENA Tour likely to return to Oman next year
The MENA Golf Tour, which has given Oman a skip this year, is likely to return to the sultanate next year, according to Mohamed Juma Buamaim, chairman of the MENA Tour.
Muscat Daily had reported last week that the MENA Tour has pulled out of Oman for the first time since making its debut in 2013.
Despite pulling out of Oman this year, Buamaim assured that the Tour will most likely return to Oman “as early as next year.
The chief of the Dubai-based body lauded the Oman Golf Committee (OGC) for its continued support in putting the Tour on a trajectory for growth, saying it’s just a matter of time before the tour events return to the sultanate’s premier golf clubs.
“We have been visiting Oman since Ghala Golf Club made its debut on the tour in 2013, and even organised our flagship season-ending Tour Championship at Muscat Hills last year in a testament to Oman’s growing reputation as major golf destination,” said Buamaim.
“We see it as our responsibility to showcase years of investments made in building world-class facilities by different countries in the region. And that is one big reason, we have added Jordan’s Ayla Golf Club and Ajman’s Al Zohra Club to our schedule this year.
“As we can only have a limited number of events on our schedule because of extreme weather conditions and other logistical snags, we were forced to skip Oman this year to accommodate new host venues. Any other insinuation will be far from the truth.
“Ghala and Muscat Hills have been very supportive of the Tour and so is the Oman Golf Committee. We value their commitment and will soon return to Oman, maybe, as early as next year.
"With world ranking points in place, I see big things for the MENA Tour. If it keeps going the way it is, it’s a huge pathway for someone from this region to qualify for the Olympics. It gives young professionals much-needed experience, which is difficult to gain."
“We recently launched The Project 300 that is aimed at getting at least one regional player in the Olympics by 2020. Players hoping to qualify for Tokyo must get within 300 in the world rankings.
“Leading amateurs like Azaan al Rumhy (Oman), Khaled Attiah and Othman Almulla (both Saudi Arabia), Ayoub Lguirati (Morocco) and India’s Dubai-based Rayhan Thomas, to name a few, could be contenders for the elusive Olympics spots if they keep up the hard work and keep improving.
"These are exciting times for a young Tour like the MENA Tour and we need all the support we can get to ensure the brand has its own story, a story which reverberates around the world as we look forward to working with Oman golf authorities and other regional entities with the mutual goal of putting the region's golf on the world's sporting map," he added.
An initiative of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the MENA Tour was created in 2011 with the aim of developing golf in the region. It is affiliated to R&A, the worldwide golf governing body based in the home of golf, St Andrews, and the Arab Golf Federation and enjoys the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status.