Celebrities and golf stars set to tee it up in Abu Dhabi

A host of A-list celebrities, VIPs and world-class golfers will grace the Yas Links golf course this week, as the Abu Dhabi Invitational tees off to raise money for charity

Football legend Peter Schmeichel and former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley will go head-to-head at Yas Links Golf Course this week, as they captain two celebrity-filled teams in the 2017 Abu Dhabi Invitational.

The annual charity pro-am tournament will see a Professional Golfers’ team, lead by McGinley, face a Celebrity Team captained by Champions League-winning goalkeeper Schmeichel.

Among those set to tee it up at the Kyle Phillips-designed course will be Olympic hero Sir Matthew Pinsent, Rugby World Cup-winners David Campese and Mike Tindall, pop star Ronan Keating and cricket legends Brian Lara and Jacques Kallis.

This year’s event will include an Amateur Championship on 28 January featuring invited sponsor and stakeholder guests, in addition to the main Invitational on 29 January. The Invitational event will see 20 professionals and 20 celebrities paired with a VIP guest as the teams compete against each other in a Ryder Cup four-ball format.

Last year, four-time European Tour winner Darren Fichardt won the Invitational event to join a winners’ roll call that includes former European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke, South African Major winner Retief Goosen and England’s former world No. 1 Lee Westwood.

Ahead of this year’s contest, Schmeichel said: “It is an honour to be captaining the celebrity team at this year’s Abu Dhabi Invitational and, with the line-up we have, I know we can give the pros a serious challenge.

“It is a prestigious event at a wonderful course and I am looking forward to it enormously. I know we will have a lot of fun and raise important funds for charity too.”

The tournament was founded in 2007 by Abdullah Al Naboodah and has been hosted alongside Mohamed Farooq since 2014.

His Excellency Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), which owns the European Tour-sanctioned event, added: “The founders continue to support this event which benefits charity and which this year will raise funds for the Emirates Red Crescent.

“Appreciation goes to both Abdullah and Mohamed for giving the event such a strong foundation on which we now hope to build the world’s most popular and prestigious pro-am tournament and continue to promote Abu Dhabi as a leading international golf, business and entertainment destination.”