From left: Priyaa Kumaria, Sudesh Aggarwal, Taimur Hassan and Khalid Mubarak Al Shamsi and Bobby Fiala at the launch of the newly conceptualised Emirates Amateur Golf League.
Billed as perfect platform for budding stars, Emirates Amateur Golf League (EAGL), a first-of-its-kind franchise-owned league tournament in the world, has been launched in the UAE.
The EAGL will feature eight teams in a round-robin team format, followed by semi-finals and finals. Fixtures for the rounds are yet to be announced, but the inaugural edition will be played later this year from November 2021 to January 2022 at the four to five iconic golf courses of the UAE, starting with the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club kicking off the event.
Nine teams are up for grabs including Abu Dhabi Roars, Asian Jumbos, Dubai Tigers, Emirates Players, English Nicks, European Seves, Indian Singhs, Korean Chois and Pakistani Taimurs. Over the next few months, corporates and individuals will be invited to buy teams.
The path-breaking initiative is a brainchild of Sudesh Aggarwal, a prominent Dubai-based businessman who is a passionate golfer himself.
Sanctioned by Emirates Golf Federation (EGF), the new league also enjoys the support of APGC, the federation representing 42 national golf bodies in the Asia and Pacific regions.
The EAGL was launched in the presence of Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of Emirates Golf Federation, and Taimur Hassan, Chairman of Asia Pacific Golf Confederation.
Each team will comprise a squad of 24 players and two professional golfers as coaches. Each round will be contested by 12 chosen players from each team and played in various match play formats. The league is open only to players who have index handicap of 14 or better.
“The Emirates Amateur Golf League is the most exciting thing to happen to amateur golf, which is the largest segment of the sport. We all know the excitement generated by team golf competitions like the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup, and the drama that a sporting league like the English Premier League in football or the Indian Premier League in cricket can create,” said Aggarwal.
“The EAGL combines the best of all these mega sporting events. We aim to provide an unforgettable experience for the players and sponsors through professional organization and creating value propositions which will make this a win-win situation for all our stakeholders.”
Sheikh Fahim said he believed the EAGL had the potential to grow the game significantly in the country.
“We have so many amazing tournaments for the professionals in the UAE, but we rarely get something which gets the amateur players excited. The EAGL can become a tournament our amateurs will aspire to become a part of, and hence work harder to get better,” he added.
APGC’s Hassan, one of the most well-known professional golfers from Pakistan, remarked: “It’s really heart-warming to see tournaments like Emirates Amateur Golf League being conceptualized. At the APGC, increasing the popularity of golf and improving the quality of amateur golf is at the heart of everything we do. We are delighted to support the EAGL.”
Live broadcast of the rounds will be one of the striking features of the League and Priyaa Kumria, the EAGL Administrator, added: “The League will feature a total of nine rounds played over two months and involving 312 matches before the champion team is identified. Another first for the League would be the 40 hours of live broadcast that is planned during the inaugural season.
“EAGL will give amateur golfers an experience of playing like professionals in golf course set up like professional tournaments.”
Commenting on sponsorship opportunities, Aggarwal added: “For the benefits that we have lined up for those associating with the EAGL, this would be a very cost-effective proposition. Corporate days in golf are considered one of the most effective sponsorships in sport and we are providing an opportunity to leverage a season-long event through hospitality, branding, networking and PR exercises.”