The prestigious NBO Golf Classic Grand Final was opened today in a style befitting of an event of such importance when Chief Guest, His Excellency Ahmed bin Nasser bin Hamed Al Mahrizi, Minister of Tourism, hit a ceremonial tee shot off the first tee at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat.
His Excellency was joined by Minister of Sport, His Excellency Shaikh Saad Al Saadi, and a group of VIPs, including National Bank of Oman CEO Ahmed Al Musalmi, who participated in the official opening ceremony before being taken on a tour of the tournament facilities which included watching a fun performance by the 'Trick Shot Boys'.
The event is the final stage of the European Challenge Tour's 'Road to Oman' featuring the top 46 players in the Rankings who are competing for a €400,000 prize fund as well as the chance to play on the elite European Tour next season. That honour will be awarded the players who finish in the top 16 places in the Rankings once the tournament is over, and it has proven to be a life-changing promotion for some of those who have preceded them on the same journey.
One of last year's Challenge Tour graduates, South Africa's Brandon Stone, who finished 14th on the 2015 Road to Oman Rankings, has enjoyed European Tour success this year with victory on home soil in the BMW SA Open and will now make his debut in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, open only to the top 60 players in the Race to Dubai Rankings.
Korea's Ben An finished third in the 2014 Road to Oman Rankings and went on to win the European Tour's esteemed BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth the following year.
The USA's Brooks Koepka, a graduate of the Challenge Tour's 'Class of 2013' won the Turkish Airlines Open on the European Tour the following year and has gone on to enjoy success in his homeland on the US PGA Tour, while fellow graduate Tyrrell Hatton is enjoying a wonderful season on the European Tour this year. The Englishman claimed victory in the 2016 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and is currently in fifth place in the Race to Dubai Rankings.
The players in this week's NBO Golf Classic Grand Final have the opportunity to experience a similar path to success, with all the wealth and glory that comes with it, so it was highly appropriate that proceedings were given a top class royal inception in Muscat.