The 2018 DHL Swing Against Cancer Series started with a bang as over 170 golfers and evening guests joined former Liverpool FC footballer Didi Hamann at Jumeirah Golf Estates for the DHL Open to raise more than US$20,000 for Friends of Cancer Patients which will go directly to the treatment of three-year old Mohamed Sameer Abdullah, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.
“I wanted to get involved in this fantastic series as it helps such a great cause,” said Hamann, who was part of the Liverpool team that clinched the Champions League in dramatic fashion, coming back from 3-0 down against AC Milan to win on penalties in 2005 – with the German scoring the first spot kick in the shootout.
“Hopefully the money we have raised today can go towards Mohamed’s treatment and cures him so he can lead a normal childhood. I think it’s our responsibility to give back to the community and society. Some people are not as fortunate as myself so it’s great to get involved with such a great cause and help out this little boy.”
The afternoon golf event, in which the players were kitted out in stylish shirts provided by Golf Superstore, saw Maruf Khan come out on top in the amateur division scoring an impressive 44 Stableford points with Hisham Shammas finishing second, also with 44 points but missing out on first place on a back nine countback. Completing the podium places in third place with 43 points was Paul Grayson and all three will now qualify for the DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series Grand Final, the Mike Clark Golf Day, which takes place back on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates on November 1st, where a place in the Pro-Am at the star-studded DP World Tour Championship will be up for grabs. In the pro division, Ricki Neil-Jones finished top of the pile after a classy round of 78 to win a place in the grand final where he will compete for a three-night golf break at Shangri-La’s Hambantota Golf Resort & Spa in Sri Lanka.
For 16 handicapper Hamann however, it was all about having fun with his teammates from title sponsors DHL.
“My golf isn’t as good as it should be but then again I’m not a very patient man!” he laughed. “You need to have patience and dedication on the range to try and improve your game. I enjoy the social aspect of being out on the course with the lads and having a laugh. If I play well that’s a bonus!”
The DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series, which is organised by Worldwide Golf and Sixteen10, launched last year and has captured the imagination of the UAE’s golf and business communities as well as gaining support from a string celebrities from the worlds of sport and entertainment including Harry Redknapp, Mike Tindall, Michael Campbell, Teddy Sheringham, Gary McAllister and Brian McFadden. A total of US$100,000 was raised in 2017 and the 2018 series looks set to raise the bar yet further with an international event for the first time at Brocket Hall Golf Club in London, England on June 29th before returning to the UAE for the DSA Open at Emirates Golf Club on September 13th and the much-loved Mike Clark Golf Day on November 1.
Having supported the series since it launched, leading logistics company DHL has this year thrown even more weight behind it by becoming Title Sponsor and Country Manager Geoff Walsh revealed the motivation behind the company’s involvement.
“It’s great to get the series kicked off for 2018 with the DHL Open,” he said. “Partnering up with Sixteen10 and Worldwide Golf has seen the series grow bigger and bigger. We have had over 100 golfers and more than 170 come to the evening do so it’s a great event to be involved with.
“It was a no-brainer for us to get involved as title sponsor. We have a corporate social responsibility and want to give back to the community. It fitted in perfectly for us this year; the charity side is the key part. We want to raise as much money as possible to give towards Mohamed’s treatment. We can do something very special here in the UAE and it’s also great we are going to have an event in the UK for the first time.
“It’s been great playing with Didi as we are both excellent players! (laughs). We have had great fun playing with him and he’s been really good company. It’s great that he has come out here to help raise some vital funds.
“Everyone needs to jump on this series. Unfortunately, everybody’s life is affected by cancer so it has a massive effect on the individuals that we help.”
Worldwide Golf’s Richard Bevan said: “It’s fantastic to see such an amazing turnout today – the series has really taken on a momentum of its own and for so many people to get behind what we’re trying to do is truly heart-warming. Most people have been affected by cancer in some way and it is incumbent on all of us to do anything we can do to try and fight back against it.”
Sixteen10’s Reza Sazegar added: “We have big plans for the DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series. Our vision is to make this into a leading International charity golf series, with our first UK event next month at Brocket Hall Golf Club. Having DHL as our Title Sponsor reaffirms the work we’re doing is having an impact not only on a local level, but on an International scale. It’s vital that we leave a ‘legacy of giving’ for our children and future generations to follow and be part of a society where people help each other overcome adversity. I’m confident we can continue to raise vital funds and help affect many more lives in a positive way.”
Following play there was a glitzy gala dinner on Jumeirah Golf Estates’ spectacular terrace where some top-class items were snapped up in a charity auction before Hamann entertained guests with a live Q&A.
The DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series is supported by DHL, DSA Architects, Golf Superstore, HAE Group, AVGO Express Middle East, AutoRoute, Enviroserve, MGE, MMI, Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels and their local representatives Panache Marketing, flydubai, Soneva, Dreamland Baku, The Visiting Tailor, Cirque Le Soir, Il Borro Tuscan Bistro, Hitchens Kitchens and Grosvenor House.