Etihad Airways annual challenge to mark their Diamond Sponsorship of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship took to the home straight of the Yas Marina Grand Prix circuit on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi earlier this year. Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Henrik Stenson, from the wing of an aeroplane, and Trevor Immelman, from the deck of a yacht, have all previously accepted golfing challenges, laid down by the recently crowned “Worlds Best Airline” in the World Travel Awards. This year it was the masterful Spaniard Sergio Garcia’s turn to try something different.
Garcia’s challenge was to attempt a Long Drive record down the home straight of the Yas Marina circuit, where just a few months earlier it had hosted the inaugural Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Garcia managed a 675 yard drive in his attempt to set a Long Drive record on the eve of the Championship, but could not emulate the distances achieved by Stenson atop an Etihad A30 Airbus a couple of years prior. Garcia, regarded as one of the longest drivers in world golf was disappointed at falling short of his Ryder Cup colleague but remained in good spirits as he met with students from the British School Al Khubairat, who were present as part of Etihad’s “My First Golf Lesson” promotion.
Garcia said at the time, “This is certainly one of the most fun golf challenges I have been involved. The circuit is incredible and while I did not beat Henrik on this occasion, I do intend to do everything I can to win here in Abu Dhabi this week. I also hope that Fernando Alonso will win for Ferrari later this year when he drives in the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.”