Etihad Airways, a diamond sponsor of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship (ADGC), today hosted European Ryder Cup star, Sergio Garcia, at its inaugural ‘Whack from the Track’ golf challenge at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit.
To celebrate the airline’s partnership with the ADGC and on the eve of the tournament, Sergio was invited to drive a golf ball along the longest straight of the Yas Marina Circuit, attempting to beat the Asian long drive record of 721 yards set by Sweden’s Henrik Stenson in 2007. Sergio was unsuccessful in beating Henrik’s record, however still drove a phenomenal 675 yards.
The ‘Whack from the Track’ challenge follows Etihad’s hugely successful ‘Swing from the Wing’ challenge, a long drive competition from the wing of an A330 aircraft held from 2005 to 2007, where Henrik’s record was set, and last year’s ‘Shot from the Yacht’ event, where US Masters champion Trevor Immelman took part in hitting ten golf balls from the superyacht ‘Aviva’ over the sea and onto a putting green in the grounds of the Emirates Palace Hotel.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ chief commercial officer, said: “Etihad is proud to offer innovative events around its sponsorships and each year we have created a different golf challenge with one of the game’s top stars. This year is no exception, and with our sponsorship of the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, we are particularly excited that Sergio could participate in the challenge at the Yas Marina Circuit. We wish him well in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.”
Sergio Garcia said: “This is certainly one of the most fun golf challenges I have been involved in and it was a great way to prepare for the tournament. The circuit is incredible and while I did not beat Henrik on this occasion, I do intend to do everything I can to win here in Abu Dhabi this week. I also hope that Fernando Alonso will win for Ferrari later this year when he drives in the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.”
As well as taking part in the ‘Whack from the Track’ challenge, Sergio met students from the British School Al Khubairat, who were present as part of Etihad’s “My First Golf Lesson” promotion. Sergio also took part in a Par 3 challenge, where he had to hit ‘from Abu Dhabi to Tokyo’, as part of Etihad’s promotional launch of their new Japanese route.
As the diamond sponsor and official airline for the 2010 ADGC, Etihad is involved in a series of promotional activities surrounding the tournament as well as flying the players, officials and their equipment to the UAE.
Etihad’s involvement with the Championship is one of the many high-profile sports sponsorships for the airline and complements existing partnerships with the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Ferrari F1 Team, Manchester City Football Club, Chelsea Football Club, Harlequins Rugby Football Club and the GAA All Ireland Senior Hurling Championships.
The ADGC runs from Thursday 21 to Sunday 24 January at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.