Emirates â€“ the Official Airline of the Dubai World Championship â€“ gave lucky golf fans a taste of life on the other side of the ropes as they lined up alongside star players in the tournamentâ€™s Pro-Am.
It was a day to remember for the 12 amateurs in the four Emirates Airline teams, who played with Ryder Cup winners Ian Poulter and Miguel Angel Jimenez, the current Omega Dubai Desert Classic champion; as well as Ryder Cup vice captain Thomas Bjorn, winner of the 2010 Estoril Open de Portugal; and Alvaro Quiros, the 2010 Open de Espana champion.
It was particularly memorable for Americans Alan Salem and Angel Luis Suarez, members of Skywards – the airlineâ€™s frequent flyer programme – who won a Skybid auction for a coveted place in the Pro-Am event at Jumeirah Golf Estatesâ€™ Earth course.
â€œIt was an incredible experience and a great challenge to play on a course which has been set up to test the worldâ€™s best players â€“ the Earth course is in fantastic condition and playing today gave me a real insight into how hard the conditions are for the professionals,â€ said 14-handicapper Salem.
It was also an unforgettable round for Matthew Warren, playing in a four-ball with Poulter, who enters this weekendâ€™s $7.5 million tournament on the back of winning the UBS Hong Kong Open, which Emirates is also the Official Airline of.
â€œStrolling down the pristine fairways with my wife Sam caddying for me while Ian shared a few pointers was just wonderful. It was great to be so close to a pro who is at top of his game and study how he plays. He was very friendly and I definitely picked up a few good tips,â€ said Warren, from the UK, who plays off six.
As well as being the Official Airline of the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World and 17 other tournaments, Emirates extends its support of golf to passengers by allowing them to check in a set of golf clubs free of charge – in addition to their normal checked baggage allowance – in any class of service on all Emirates flights.