European Ryder Cup Captain Pádraig Harrington has confirmed his participation in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, the first Rolex Series event of the 2021 Race to Dubai season, when international golf returns to Abu Dhabi Golf Club from January 21-24.
The Dubliner joins Major champions Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Martin Kaymer, Shane Lowry, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett in the world class field, as the prestigious tournament restarts the European Points List for players targeting qualification at this year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
World Number Ten Tyrrell Hatton and 2020 DP World Tour Championship champion Matthew Fitzpatrick are the latest international stars confirmed to tee it up in the United Arab Emirates, alongside Ryder Cup heroes Tommy Fleetwood, Ian Poulter, victorious 2018 European Captain Thomas Bjørn and defending champion Lee Westwood.
The qualification process for golf’s greatest team event resumed with the World Points List at the Sentry Tournament of Champions on the PGA TOUR last week, while next week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will restart the European Points List. The qualification period will conclude at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, the third Rolex Series event of the season, on Sunday September 12, 2021.
The 12-man European Team will comprise the first four players from the European Points List, followed by the leading five players from the World Points List. Captain Harrington then has three wild card picks to complete his line-up, a decision which will be unveiled in the week after the 2021 BMW PGA Championship.
“I’m excited to return to competitive golf at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship,” said Harrington, who will also tee up at the following week’s Dubai Desert Classic alongside Lowry and McDowell. “It’s obviously a tournament which has always been incredibly important to the European Tour, especially now forming part of the Rolex Series, so there is no better place for us to restart qualification for our European Points List as players vie to represent Team Europe at The Ryder Cup.”
His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “We are delighted to welcome what is truly an international field of stars to our award-winning Championship. Abu Dhabi is renowned for showcasing world-class sporting events and we are excited to witness another fantastic championship to kick off an exciting year of sport in the UAE.”
Abdulfattah Sharaf, CEO of HSBC UAE, commented: “The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is one of golf’s premium tournaments with an unwavering ability to attract the world’s best golfers. Together our ambition is to come back stronger in 2021 and this star-studded field will help to inspire the next generation to always strive to be the best.”
Similar to the process for The 2018 Ryder Cup, qualification points will not be available anywhere in the world from a tournament played opposite a Rolex Series event – excluding Challenge Tour tournaments – nor from the 2021 Men’s Olympic Golf Tournament. Fleetwood, who made his Ryder Cup debut at Le Golf National in 2018, currently leads the European Points list while Hatton, who also made his first Ryder Cup appearance in Paris, is currently the first qualifier from the World Points List.
First staged in 2006, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is hosted at the iconic Abu Dhabi Golf Club for the 16th consecutive year from January 21-24, 2021, with a prize fund of US$8 million and 8,000 Race to Dubai points available.