The nine amateurs in the three Emirates teams lined up with New Zealandâ€™s Michael Campbell, the 2005 US Open champion; Indiaâ€™s Jeev Milkha Singh, a three-time winner on the European Tour; and South Koreaâ€™s emerging star Seung-yul Noh.
Ron Barker, Madhu Gopinath and Lorne Rutherford, members of Skywards – the airlineâ€™s frequent flyer programme – won a qualifying tournament for a place in the event at Emirates Golf Club.
â€œIt was great privilege to play in a field including the three best players in the world. The course has been set up to test them and playing under those conditions was an amazing experience,â€ said Barker, 61, from Australia, who played with Milkha Singh.
â€œThe pros make it look so easy, but – believe me – it is far from it. It was incredible to be walking down the 18th fairway alongside Jeev and a tremendous learning experience to study his game up close. He was very friendly and shared handy tips throughout the round,â€ added the 19 handicapper.
In addition to Campbell, several other players will be flying the flag for Emirates at the $2.5 million event which gets under way at the Majlis course tomorrow, including Colin Montgomerie, a Ryder Cup great and Emirates ambassador; Ben Curtis, the 2003 Open Championship winner who has Arizona Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson caddying for him; and British rookie Chris Cannon.