NBO Oman Open

Bjørn on NBO Oman Open venue Al Mouj: ‘It’s amazing here’

MUSCAT, OMAN – FEBRUARY 14: Thomas Bjorn of Denmark in action during the Pro-Am prior to the start of the NBO Oman Open at Al Mouj Golf on February 14, 2018 in Muscat, Oman. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

By Kent Gray
Thomas Bjørn’s buildup to the European Tour’s newest stop has been nothing if not emotional.

The Ryder Cup captain savoured having his son Oliver along for the walk during the Pro-Am on the eve of the $1.75 million NBO Oman Open at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat.

“He’s mad keen on golf and he’s had a bit of a hard time with an operation on his leg recently so it was nice for him to get out of the cold and wet back home and enjoy some sun,” said the 47-year-old. “We’ll see if he can make it around the golf course – he’s struggling a little bit – but it’s always nice to spend some time with him at golf tournaments.”

The special father-son moments are a bit of a Danish theme this week; Søren Kjeldsen has his son Emil on the bag this week.

There was, however, a somber tinge to the day for the Danish contingent in Muscat after news filtered through that Denmark’s Prince Henrik had passed away late on Tuesday night. He was 83.

With September’s 42nd Ryder Cyp matches at Le Golf National looming, Bjorn’s main golf focus remains on preparations for Paris. But he’s still plugging away with his own game and will be looking to make it three cuts and four starts at Al Mouj.

After an encouraging T-30 finish in Abu Dhabi, Bjørn was a victim of the historically low scoring at the Desert Classic where he missed the cut by two shots despite being three under. He followed up with a T-39 effort in Malaysia at the Maybank Championship and is delighted to be one of the headline acts this week.

Related: This is your Ryder Cup captain speaking

“It’s great to have new events come up on the European Tour like this one. In golf you lose some events over time and you gain some, and if this kind of event – with such a beautiful golf course, a great venue and a great place to come – is the kind that we gain, it bodes well for the future,” said Bjorn who will tee it up with Kjeldsen and Belgian Thomas Detry at 7.25am in Thursday’s opening round.

“It’s just a great place to come and play golf. We enjoy all of our events in the Middle East but the Challenge Tour guys had been saying this was a great venue and a great golf course and they weren’t wrong.

“You look at some of the views on this course and some of the holes along the water, it’s spectacular. The course is great, the facilities…it’s one of those places where you come through the gate, see what’s here and realise it’s a really nice place to play golf. I’m sure anyone playing with these views will be up for it and I’m just looking forward to a nice week.”

Related: We preview the key first round groups for your viewing pleasure

Bjorn’s praise for Al Mouj echoed around the Twitter-sphere with 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie and Ryder Cupper Andy Sullivan giving their seal of approval.

The European Tour social media team are certainly impressed with the Greg Norman design, the par 3s in particular. It’s no surprise to us of course; Al Mouj rated third in our 2018 Top 10 Courses in the Middle East.

 

Kent Gray

Kent Gray

Editor of Golf Digest Middle East. Has written about golf since 1989 and owned a suspect short game even longer.

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