Els confirmed for Abu Dhabi

Ernie Els has announced he is returning to the UAE for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship from January 15-18.

Having already won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in 2005 and picked up a hat-trick of Omega Dubai Desert Classic titles, the South African needs victory in Abu Dhabi to complete a clean sweep of the European Tour’s ‘Desert Swing’.

“I’ve always felt at home playing in the Gulf,” said Els. “I won my first European Tour event in the UAE way back in 1994 and since then have loved playing in the region and enjoying some success in the big tournaments.

“I’m just one Falcon Trophy short of winning every ‘Desert Swing’ title – and I hope to rectify that next month in Abu Dhabi. That would be a great achievement, and is an ambition of mine, particularly given it’s the Championship’s 10th anniversary.”

Els joins a star-studded field at Abu Dhabi Golf Club that includes Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler.

HSBC Global head of sponsorship and events, Giles Morgan, said: “Ernie is one of the legends of modern golf and his instantly familiar style has graced the game for many years. With some exciting new names at the top of golf’s global leaderboard it will be fascinating to see who emerges on top in what promises to be a thrilling battle to kick-start the new season.”