The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship was held between 26 and 29 January 2012 at The National Course in Abu Dhabi. With Abu Dhabi being just an hour’s drive from Dubai, and with Tiger Woods in the field, we just had to attend. HSBC offered its customers free entry to the tournament. In addition, Premier members were entitled to entry into the HSBC hospitality tent on the 17th green.
We arrived reasonably early on the Friday morning, and spent some time in the championship village playing the various games that HSBC had arranged. Having not managed to hole the long putt or get the rugby balls through the holes in the walls, we headed out to watch the golf. With Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald going off around midday, we headed out in search of the South Africans in the field. We then waited at the 5th green for Tiger, Rory and Luke to play through. It really is difficult to follow each hole with such a popular pairing, so we selected some holes and waited on the tees or greens for them to play through. The green on the Par 3 12th hole offers a good viewing spot. Aletta and I sat on the rocks behind the green and waited for around five groups of players to play through, before we headed to the 18th tee. After Tiger, Rory and Luke had teed off on their final hole, we made our way to the HSBC hospitality tent on the 17th green. We enjoyed their complimentary food and beverages before heading home, in anticipation of another long day on Saturday.
With the cut having been made on Friday afternoon, we arrived a little later on Saturday. With Tiger Woods playing in the third last group, we first watched the South Africans in the field. James Kingston was even kind enough to throw us a ball after he had completed the 5th green. We adopted the same strategy as on Friday, i.e. selecting a number of tees and greens and watching various players play through.
We did not attend the golf on the final day, Sunday, choosing instead to watch it on TV. Congratulations to Robert Rock who played exceptionally well to hold off Tiger and Rory in yet another memorable Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
All in all it was a most enjoyable tournament, with a deserved winner (despite Robert Rock not being in my European Tour Fantasy Team for the week!!). A special word of thanks to HSBC for sponsoring the event. I am hopeful of securing an invite to the hospitality tents on the 18th hole in 2013.