2023 WATC heads to Abu Dhabi

The 2023 World Amateur Team Championships, where the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Ludvig Aberg cut their teeth in team golf, will be played in Abu Dhabi.

The biennial team amateur event is a traditional hotbed of emerging talent producing many of the sport’s future stars. It was originally set to be held in Dubai but will now move to Abu Dhabi where it will be contested from 18–21 October at the National Course at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

The Emirates Golf Federation will host the event along with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, marking the first time it has been held in the Middle East since it was first played in 1958 at the Old Course, St. Andrews.

2023 will also be the first time the event will be held during an odd year to avoid same-year conflict with future Summer Olympic Games, with the next one held in 2025, then 2027 and so on.

Format and past winners

The WATC, organized by the International Golf Federation, is the biggest men’s amateur team golf event. The equivalent competition for women is the Espirito Santo Trophy which was first played in 1964.

The 33rd edition of the event will see 36 international teams battle it out, each with two or three players playing 18-holes of stroke play for four days. In each round, the total of the two lowest scores from each team constitutes the team score for the round. The four-day (72-hole) total is the team’s final score for the championship with the lowest scoring team awarded the Eisenhower Trophy.

The United States has won 15 times, Great Britain & Ireland and Australia have won four times, while countries as diverse as Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Sweden have each won the trophy.

Future stars

Since Jack Nicklaus was on the winning United States team at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania in 1960, some of the biggest names in golf have played this event which has proved a breeding ground for future stars. 2023 will no doubt feature young talent that could go on to be household names.

Tiger Woods was on the winning U.S. team in 1994, while other big names to have played the event include Luke Donald in 2000, Rory McIlroy 2006, Justin Thomas 2012, Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau 2014 and Collin Morikawa in 2018.

The 2022 competition was played at Le Golf National in France and was won by Italy with Sweden in second place. Among the three-man Swedish team was Ludvig Aberg who has since gone on to Ryder Cup glory and become a DP World Tour event winner.

In 2018, Denmark won with Nicolai Hojgaard and Rasmus Hojgaard in their team. In 2021, they became the first brothers to win in back-to-back weeks on the DP World Tour. Nicolai now has two DP World Tour titles and is also a Ryder Cup winner.

The National Course at Abu Dhabi Golf Club

The National Course, which hosted 16 editions of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the DP World Tour before it moved to Yas Links in 2022, will host the WATC in 2023.

The par-72, 7,440-yard layout provides a stern challenge with 90 strategically placed bunkers and seven saltwater lakes. The perfectly manicured fairways, carved out of the surrounding desert by leading designer Peter Harradine, weave through undulating terrain that features pockets of palms and ornamental trees and shrubs.The iconic clubhouse, built in the shape of a falcon with its wings outstretched, overlooks the course.

2023 WATC international teams

People’s Republic of China
Republic of Korea
New Zealand
South Africa
Chinese Taipei
United Arab Emirates
United States of America

Future hosts

The WATC in 2025 and 2027 will be hosted by the Singapore Golf Association and the Royal Moroccan Golf Federation, respectively. In 2025 the event will be played at the Tampines Course at Tanah Merah Country Club and in 2027 at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam.

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