Abu Dhabi, Tuesday 2nd January 2018 – Ballon D’Or winner Luis Figo and former World No.1 golfer Martin Kaymer will captain the two sides for The 2018 Abu Dhabi Invitational at the award-winning Yas Links from January 12-13.
Figo, who will captain the Celebrity Team, played for Real Madrid, Barcelona and Inter Milan, was the world’s most expensive player in 2000 following his switch from Barcelona to Real Madrid and won domestic and European trophies in all three countries.
Figo said: “I am delighted to be captaining the Celebrity Team in The Abu Dhabi Invitational. I have heard great things about Yas Links and the Tournament. We look forward to the challenge of facing Martin’s Pro team and will leave no stone unturned to win the Trophy. Regardless of the result, it’s great to be involved in such a unique charity tournament.”
Kaymer is a 2-time major championship winner and has also featured in 3 victorious European Ryder Cup teams. He was also ranked as the No. 1 golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking for eight weeks in 2011.
Kaymer commented: “I’ve always enjoyed playing and winning in Abu Dhabi, so it really does feel like a second home to me. The Yas Links course is excellent and I’m excited to be captain. This year, the pro team will be playing off +7, which will mean we need to play some great golf to retain the trophy - but hopefully our amateur partners will play their part!”
Promising to be an unforgettable two days of golf, The Abu Dhabi Invitational is renowned as one of the world’s most prestigious Pro-Celebrity tournaments. Founded in 2007 by Abdullah Al Naboodah, it has become a must-play for celebrities and professional golfers alike where they are paired with a VIP amateur guest in a Ryder Cup Fourball format.
2017 saw Paul McGinley’s Pro Team win by 13½ points to 6½ over Peter Schmeichel’s Celebrity team, which featured footballing stars Ruud Gullit and Roberto Di Matteo, rugby union World Cup winner Mike Tindall, cricketing legend Jacques Kallis and international popstar Ronan Keating. The two-day event comprises of the Amateur Championship on Friday 12 January with invited sponsor and stakeholder guests, before the main Invitational on Saturday 13 January. Both days are open to members of the public and the tournament will once again be raising money for charity.
His Excellency Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), said: “We are delighted that Luis and Martin will be playing The Abu Dhabi Invitational this year. Luis is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in world football, whilst Martin is a former World No. 1 in the sport of golf. We’re looking forward to announcing the other stars in the coming weeks.”
Howie Roberts, General Manager of Yas Links, said he was thrilled to see the Invitational return to Yas Links. “Hosting the Abu Dhabi Invitational is always special and we’re delighted to see it return for the fifth year. It is a chance to showcase this fantastic golf course, alongside Yas Island’s global entertainment and hospitality facilities, to an international audience. It is always a wonderful event and we are proud to host it here at Yas Links.”