The European Tour welcomes another new event to its international schedule at the stunning Greg Norman-designed Al Mouj Golf in Muscat. Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood and Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston will tee it up in the Middle East.
The NBO Oman Open will represent the biggest professional sports event ever to be hosted in Oman and while the occasion will mark a watershed moment in the Sultanate’s history, it will be the sixth time a National Bank of Oman-sponsored professional golf tournament has been hosted at Al Mouj Golf, with the venue welcoming the stars of the European Challenge Tour for the past five years.
The National Bank of Oman Golf Classic was the penultimate event on the Challenge Tour schedule in 2013 and 2014 before the highly-regarded tournament received its first promotion when it was elevated to become the season-ending showpiece, NBO Golf Classic Grand Final, from 2015 to 2017. The Sultanate became the key focus of the Challenge Tour schedule with the season-long points competition renamed the ‘Road to Oman Rankings’ and the top 45 players earning a spot in the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final where they competed for a chance to win promotion to the European Tour. The event, as well as the world-class course and venue, received frequent rave reviews from players, spectators and the media and it was only a matter of time before the tournament itself was awarded European Tour promotion.
Also teeing it up in Muscat will be Jordan Smith. The Englishman topped the Road to Oman Rankings in 2016 before making a lightning quick start to his European Tour career last year with victory in the Porsche European Open along with a further four top ten finishes as he secured a place in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai at the first time of asking. “I’m excited to be returning to Oman and playing in the inaugural NBO Oman Open at Al Mouj Golf next month,” said Smith. “I have fond memories of Oman and winning the Road to Oman in 2016 and look forward to playing again in Muscat at Al Mouj Golf. It is a challenging golf course and I’m delighted to include Oman and the NBO Oman Open in my 2018 schedule.”
Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia, winner of the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final and Road to Oman in 2015, will join Smith in the NBO Oman Open field as will 2016 NBO Golf Classic Grand Final winner Bernd Ritthammer. The list of former Al Mouj Golf winners will also include Clément Sordet who will return to the scene of his triumph just over three months after his 2017 NBO Golf Classic Grand Final victory.